Response of territorial male song sparrows to song types and variations

Philip K. Stoddard, Michael D. Beecher, Mary S. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The song repertoires of male song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) are comprised of distinct song types and many overlapping variations within each type. This study examines the sensitivity of territorial male song sparrows to both multiple song types and variation within types. A playback experiment was conducted using stimulus tapes that had either single songs (but not variations), song variations (but not types) or a single song. Response during playback was similar for all three stimulus groups, but diminished sooner after playback for the single-song tape. Thus our results indicate that male song sparrows are sensitive to song variability both within and among song types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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