Skip to main content

Acoustic Communication in a Black-Headed Gull Colony: How Do Chicks Identify Their Parents?

Buy Article:

The full text article is temporarily unavailable.

We apologise for the inconvenience. Please try again later.

Chicks perform conspicuous begging behaviour in response to the arrival of a parent. In seabirds colonies, as nests are close to each other, chicks are permanently surrounded by sound and visual stimuli produced by adult conspecifics approaching their nests. However, in spite of these conditions, black-headed gull chicks begin to vocalize as their parent approaches even before they can see it. In this paper, we report field experiments testing sound-based discrimination of parents by black-headed gull chicks. Focusing on the ‘long call’, i.e. the signal emitted by parents when coming back to the nest, we investigate here the acoustic parameters used for this recognition process. By playback experiments using modified ‘long calls’, we demonstrated that signals without amplitude modulation still elicit responses in chicks. In contrast, frequency modulation appears essential. In the frequency domain, experiments revealed that frequency analysis is precise. Chicks did not react when the frequency spectrum of parental call was shifted 20 Hz down or up. The totality of harmonics is not necessary: chicks require only two harmonics to discriminate between parents. Signal redundancy is of great significance since a minimum of four successive syllables in parental ‘long call’ are required to elicit reaction in the chick.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratoire de Biologie Animale, Universit√© Jean Monnet, St-Etienne; CEFE–CNRS, UPR 9056, Montpellier; CNRS, NAMC M√©canismes de Communication, Orsay

Publication date: 01 November 2001

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more