Social Modulation of Courtship Behaviors in Songbirds

Patik, Abbie
Mating success and the proliferation of the species depends on successful reproductive signaling. Displays such as plumage and vocalizations are often used in mate attraction, and songbirds are ideal for studying attraction displays because male song is a primary means of attracting a female. My research investigated whether mate selection is based solely on female preference or if males also play a role in shaping the selection of their mate by modulating their song performance with different females. We recorded twelve male Bengalese finches alone or with one of six females to determine whether male song varied in the presence of different females. Preliminary results indicate that males change their song sequence immediately following introduction of a female, however within the hour of recording their song pattern reverts back to that observed when the male is alone. These results reveal that males change their songs as a function of female presence and future experiments will examine the role of such changes in affecting the mate preferences of Bengalese finch females.
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