Anatomy of avian distress calls: structure, variation, and complexity in two species of shorebird (Aves: Charadrii)

Wilson, David R. and MIller, Edward H. and Kostoglou, Kristal N. and Weston, Michael A. (2022) Anatomy of avian distress calls: structure, variation, and complexity in two species of shorebird (Aves: Charadrii). Behaviour, 159. pp. 699-733. ISSN 0005-7959

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Birds often vocalize when threatened or captured by a predator. We present detailed qualitative analyses of calls from 24 red-capped plover (Charadrius ruficapillus) and 117 masked lapwing (Vanellus miles) chicks (Charadriidae) that we recorded during handling. Calls were structurally complex and differed between species. Calls showed moderate structure at higher levels of organization (e.g., similarity between successive calls; sequential grading). Some call characteristics resembled those in other bird species in similar circumstances (e.g., in nonlinear phenomena). Most calls consisted of several different parts, which combined in different ways across calls. Past studies have overlooked most features of distress calls and calling in charadriids due to small sample sizes and limited spectrographic analyses. Understanding interspecific patterns in call structure, and determination of call functions, will require: detailed knowledge of natural history; detailed behavioural descriptions, acoustic analysis, and analyses of development and growth; and experimental investigations of call functions.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 16085
Keywords: Charadrius ruficapillus, distress call, masked lapwing, red-capped plover, Vanellus miles, vocal development
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 7 January 2022
Date Type: Publication
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