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Evidence for individual vocal differences in Woodland Kingfishers Halcyon senegalensis cyanoleuca

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Theoretical criteria have been advanced to describe conditions under which avian species are able to recognise the voices of neighbours, thereby reducing physical conflict. Namely, that the signal should be sufficiently stereotyped to allow species specific recognition but sufficiently varied to allow individual recognition. Although this has been quantitatively demonstrated in many species and genera, one exception is the kingfishers (family Alcedinidae). Here, temporal and frequency measurements from recordings of the territorial calls of nine Woodland Kingfishers Halcyon senegalensis cyanoleuca were analysed to calculate the between-individual and within-individual coefficients of variance. Our results indicate that temporal parameters tend towards individual specificity, with frequency parameters more stereotyped across the species. Multivariate statistics discriminated the nine individuals and identified two components, which accounted for 72.1% of the total variance between individuals. We conclude that a suite of vocal characters in the temporal domain is used to discriminate between individuals in Woodland Kingfishers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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