Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bird song as an early indicator of species decline

Studying a metapopulation of Dupont’s Lark in NE Spain researchers have found a relationship between (individual) bird song complexity and diversity and the viability of the population as a whole. Males from the most numerous and productive populations sang songs of greater complexity than birds from smaller populations, which sang less complex songs. They argue that the cultural milieu of a large viable population, which then permits birds to learn more complex songs, creates an association between song complexity and viability of the population.

They then go on to say that this simple quantifiable measure of a vocal characteristic could act as an early indicator of a local population decline.

Citation: Laiolo P, Vögeli M, Serrano D, Tella JL (2008) Song Diversity Predicts the Viability of Fragmented Bird Populations. PLoS One 3(3): e1822. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001822

Image: Dupont´s Lark by Josele Saiz from www.birdingspain.com

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