Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Developmental stress affects song learning but not song complexity and vocal amplitude in zebra finches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Several recent studies have tested the hypothesis that song quality in adult birds may reflect early developmental conditions, specifically nutritional stress during the nestling period. Whilst all of these earlier studies found apparent links between early nutritional stress and song quality, their results disagree as to which aspects of song learning or production were affected. In this study, we attempted to reconcile these apparently inconsistent results. Our study also provides the first assessment of song amplitude in relation to early developmental stress and as a potential cue to male quality. We used an experimental manipulation in which the seeds on which the birds were reared were mixed with husks, making them more difficult for the parents to obtain. Compared with controls, such chicks were lighter at fledging; they were thereafter placed on a normal diet and had caught up by 100 days. We show that nutritional stress during the first 30 days of life reduced the birds' accuracy of song syntax learning, resulting in poorer copies of tutor songs. Our experimental manipulations did not lead to significant changes in song amplitude, song duration or repertoire size. Thus, individual differences observed in song performance features probably reflect differences in current condition or motivation rather than past condition.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1395
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume63
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

    Research areas

  • Bird song, Condition-dependent signal, Early nutritional deficiency, Developmental stress hypothesis, Song amplitude, Song learning, Taenopygia guttata, Zebra finch, TAENIOPYGIA-GUTTATA, HONEST SIGNAL, BODY-SIZE, ACCURACY, IMITATION, NUTRITION, CHOICE, VOLUME, NOISE, BIRD

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Higher songs of city birds may not be an individual response to noise

    Zollinger, S. A., Slater, P. J. B., Nemeth, E. & Brumm, H., 16 Aug 2017, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284, 1860, 8 p., 20170602.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Learning and cultural transmission in chaffinch song

    Riebel, K., Lachlan, R. F. & Slater, P. J. B., May 2015, Advances in the Study of Behavior. Naguib, M., Brockmann, H. J., Mitani, J. C., Simmons, L. W., Barrett, L., Healy, S. & Slater, P. J. B. (eds.). Elsevier, Vol. 47. p. 181-227 (Advances in the Study of Behavior; vol. 47).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  3. Female happy wrens select songs to cooperate with their mates rather than confront intruders

    Templeton, C. N., Ríos-Chelén, A. A., Quirós-Guerrero, E., Mann, N. I. & Slater, P. J. B., 23 Feb 2013, In: Biology Letters. 9, 1, 20120863.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. An experimental study of duet integration in the happy wren, Pheugopedius felix

    Templeton, C. N., Mann, N. I., Rios-Chelend, A., Quiros-Guerrero, E. & Slater, P. J. B., 2013, In: Animal Behaviour. 86, p. 821-827

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Song duets function primarily as cooperative displays in pairs of happy wrens

    Templeton, C. N., Rivera-Caceres, K. D., Mann, N. I. & Slater, P. J. B., Dec 2011, In: Animal Behaviour. 82, 6, p. 1399-1407 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (Journal)

    Monica Arso Civil (Reviewer)

    15 Dec 2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (Journal)

    Luke Edward Rendell (Editor)

    2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  3. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (Journal)

    Kate Arnold (Reviewer)

    2007 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (Journal)

    Vincent Janik (Member of editorial board)

    20052014

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (Journal)

    Anne Magurran (Editor)

    19972002

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Effective use of the McNemar test

    Pembury Smith, M. & Ruxton, G. D., 10 Oct 2020, In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 74, 9 p., 133.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Effects of indirect reputation and type of rearing on food choices in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

    Bueno-Guerra, N., Colell, M. & Call, J., 6 Jun 2020, In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 74, 6, 79.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Grouped circular data in biology: advice for effectively implementing statistical procedures

    Landler, L., Ruxton, G. D. & Malkemper, E. P., 20 Jul 2020, In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 74, 8, 8 p., 100.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Mating failure shapes the patterns of sperm precedence in an insect

    Balfour, V. L., Black, D. & Shuker, D. M., 27 Jan 2020, In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 74, 14 p., 25.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 17118136

Top