Journal Article Diet and birdsong : short-term nutritional enrichment improves songs of adult Bengalese finch males

Yamada, Kentaro  ,  Soma, Masayo

47 ( 6 )  , pp.865 - 870 , 2016-12 , Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0908-8857
Description
Song is a notable sexual signal of birds, and serves as an honest indicator of male quality. Condition dependence of birdsong has been well examined from the viewpoint of the developmental stress hypothesis, which posits that complex songs assure fitness because learned acoustic features of songs are especially susceptible to early-life stress that young birds experience in song learning periods. The effect of early stress on song phenotypes should be crucial, especially in age-limited song learners which sing stereotyped songs throughout life. However, little attention has been paid to non-learned song features that can change plastically even in adulthood of age-limited song-learners. Although it has been shown that food availability affects song rate in wild songbirds, there is limited evidence of the link between favorable nutritional conditions and song phenotypes other than song rate. Under the prediction that singing behavior reflects an individual's recent life history, we kept adult Bengalese finch males under high-nutrition or normal diet for a short term, and examined changes in body mass and songs. We found that birds on a high-nutrition diet showed higher song output (e.g. song rate and length) compared with those of the control group, while changes in body mass were moderate. In addition, note repertoire became more consistent and temporal structures got faster in both nutrition and control groups, which indicates that songs were subject to other factors than nutrition. Considering that female estrildid finches, including Bengalese and zebra finches, show a preference toward complex songs as well as longer songs and higher song rate, it is plausible that different aspects of singing behavior signal different male qualities, and provide multifaceted clues to females that choose mates.
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https://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2115/67763/1/Yamada%26Soma2016.pdf

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