The distribution of Turdus merula in the steppe zone of Ukraine is studied. The expansion of its range occurred in the steppe zone in artificial forestations, many of which have been established as early as the second half of the 19th century. However, the Blackbird expansion in the steppe zone of the Left-bank and Right-bank Ukraine started only in the middle of the 20th century, and in the Crimean steppe zone only to the end of the 20th century. Now, the southern border of this species’ range in the Left -bank Ukraine is almost at the northern coasts of the Black and Azov seas. In the Right-bank Ukraine its range is already at the seashore. In the Crimean steppe zone, the range expanded to the North of the forests of mountainous Crimea. The Blackbird populations farthest from the mountainous forests are found in artificial forest plantings at the northern and eastern borders of the peninsula. The species is absent from the western and north-western steppes of the Crimea.
The repertoire of chaffinches from the northeast of Balkan region consists of 39 song types, 9 of them are most widespread. Comparative analysis of the chaffinch song types from the Balkans and from Caucasus, East Carpathians, Crimean Mountains, plain regions of Ukraine was done. It revealed no Balkan song types in other regions. Chaffinch songs from Balkan are similar by structure to songs from the Caucasus and East Carpathians and quite different from songs from the Crimea and Ukrainian plains. In songs of Balkan chaffinches we discovered 106 elements. Five of them are specific for local birds, 101 were found in birds from other populations. However, 37 elements are common with ones in East Carpathian populations but they were absent in chaffinch songs recorded in the Crimea and plain regions of Ukraine. Common elements in bird songs from the East Carpathians and the Balkans may be an evidence of distant relations between these territorial song complexes and/or presence of relic elements in south mountain complexes. Th e rain-calls of Balkan chaffinches radically diff er from those of birds of Crimea, plain regions of Ukraine and East Carpathians and quite identical to calls of the Caucasus birds
Song repertoire of chaffinch F. c. solomkoi subspecies from Crimea was analyzed. We discerned 38 song types in Crimean chaffinches’ repertoire, 27 of them were more frequent. Comparing Crimean chaffinches’ songs with those of nominative subspecies from Eastern Europe showed no common songs. Comparison of individual song elements showed that songs of F. c. solomkoi consisted of 108 elements, of which 18 were distinctive to Crimean birds, 18 were specific to Crimean chaffinches and Carpa-thian F. c. coelebs population while absent in songs of chaffinches from Eastern Europe plains. Comparison of F. c. solomkoi songs with songs of Caucasian subspecies F. c.caucasica revealed no common types of songs. There are certain similarities in song structures between some Crimean chaffinches and hybrid popula-tion of F. c. caucasica and F. c. solomkoi from Northwest Caucasus. Other specifics of vocalization showed drastic differences in rain-call structures of all subspecies and no after-song “kit“ element for Caucasian sub-species
Four types of Chaffinch rain-calls were found in Ukraine: “rülsch” - a trill signal widely spread in Europe; “hui” - a whistle signal that occurs in North-Western and Central Europe; “Crimean” whistle signal known only from Crimean peninsula and “Caucasian” signal occurring in Caucasus, Asia Minor and Balkans. Sonograms of rendition versions are given for all of the call types. Distribution of dialects of Chaffinch rain-calls in Ukraine was examined. “Rülsch”- dialect occurs at most of the plane Ukraine and Carpathians. Owing to colonizing artificial afforestations in steppe zone this dialect population’s range expanded southward to the coast of the Black and Azov seas. “Hui”-dialect is spread in the Lower Danube region. At the North-Eastern Danube delta Chaffinch’s with “hui”- and “rülsch”- rain-calls are found together and a bird was found that uttered both signals alternately but hybrid signals were not registered. It may attest to recent invasion by “rülsch”- population of Chaffinch’s there. “Crimean” dialect is distributed in mountainous Crimea and in most of the Crimean steppe zone. “Caucasian” rain-call renditions are registered in cases of individual vagrant birds in eastern Crimea and Lower Danube region
Song repertoire of geographically isolated Chiffchaff population that formed in Crimean mountains in 1990s is analyzed. There are 42 song elements in the Crimean Chiffchaff repertoire. A quarter of their song elements appear to be specific for this population because it is absent in neighboring European Chiffchaff populations from regions to the north (Ph. c. abietinus subspecies) and west (Ph. c. collybita subspecies). Comparison of song elements of Crimean Chiffchaffs with those of Caucasian birds of Ph. c. caucasica subspecies shows that they belong to same vocal population: specific elements in Crimean Chiffchaff songs are found also in songs of Caucasian birds. This is evidence that breeding population of Chiffchaff in Crimea originated from the species expansion from Caucasus, and that Crimean Chiffchaffs belong to Ph. c. caucasica subspecies.