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Song function and territoriality in male and female White-throated Dippers Cinclus cinclus

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Bird Study
Issue number3
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)396-403
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/09/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Capsule: Male White-throated Dippers Cinclus cinclus are more likely and quicker to respond to the playback of song than females, but both sexes are more likely to respond before the onset of breeding than after. Aims: Territoriality and the function of song in female birds have rarely been studied outside of the tropics or Australasia. We investigated territoriality and song function in males and females of a Northern temperate species, the White-throated Dipper. Methods: We conducted playback trials on established pairs and compared the responses of males and females according to the sex of the simulated intruder and the timing of playback relative to the onset of breeding. A response was classified as movement towards the speaker, singing or both. Results: Males were significantly more likely and quicker to respond to playback than females, but neither sex responded differently to the playback of male and female song. Both sexes were more likely to respond to playback before breeding had begun than after. Conclusions: Our results suggest that both males and females are territorial but that males take the dominant role in defence. Female song appears to elicit a similar response to male song and may play a role in territoriality or mate defence. © 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.