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Organization of Whistled Song Sequences in the European Starling

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The analysis of sequences of whistles in male Starlings showed a very clear organization. The same main characteristics were found among different birds. All birds tended to repeat a given whistle type several times before switching. The intervals between successive whistles were shorter if the transition was a normally preferred one (e.g. repetition). The different birds tended to begin and end their sequences in a similar way. using preferentially the simple theme to begin their sequence after. for example, arriving at the nest. This revealed a differential use of song types. They tended to finish their sequences with individual structures, while beginning with the species-specific themes. The results on the organization of these songs is discussed in relation to inter-individual interactions and the phenomenon of song matching.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 1990

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  • Bird Behavior is an international and interdisciplinary journal that publishes high-quality, original research on descriptive and experimental analyses of species-typical avian behavior, including the areas of ethology, behavioral ecology, comparative psychology, and behavioral neuroscience.

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