The biology of bird song: adaptation and plasticity of animal behaviour
Research report (imported) 2010 - Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie
Scientists at the MPI for Ornithology investigate bird song as a model for sexually selected signals. Female songbirds prefer loud songs, which can be used as a signal of high male body condition. The honesty of the signal is maintained by social aggression of rival males. At the same time, birds need to adjust their songs to the physical properties of their habitats to ensure signal transmission. This results in a complex interplay between natural and sexual selection, during which signal plasticity plays an important role as well as special adaptations of signal structure.