Sympatric song variant in mountain chickadees Poecile gambeli does not reduce aggression from black-capped chickadees Poecile atricapillus

Open access

Abstract

When habitats overlap and species compete for resources, negative interactions frequently occur. Character displacement in the form of behavioural, social or morphological divergences between closely related species can act to reduce negative interactions and often arise in regions of geographic overlap. Mountain chickadees Poecile gambeli have an altered song structure in regions of geographic overlap with the behaviourally dominant black-capped chickadee Poecile atricapillus. Similar to European and Asian tits, altered song in mountain chickadees may decrease aggression from black-capped chickadees. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a playback study in Prince George, BC, Canada, to examine how black-capped chickadees responded to the songs of mountain chickadees recorded in regions where the two species were either sympatric or allopatric. We used principal component analysis (PCA) to collapse behavioural response variables into a single ‘approach’ variable and a single ‘vocalisation’ variable. We then used mixed-model analysis to determine whether there was a difference in approach or vocalisation response to the two types of mountain chickadee songs (allopatric songs and variant sympatric songs). Black-capped chickadees responded with equal intensity to both types of mountain chickadee songs, suggesting that the variant mountain chickadee songs from regions of sympatry with black-capped chickadees do not reduce heterospecific aggression. To our knowledge, this is the only instance of a character shift unassociated with reduced aggression in the family Paridae and raises interesting questions about the selective pressures leading to the evolution of this song divergence.

Adams, D.C. (2004) Character displacement via aggressive interference in Appalachian salamanders. Ecology, 85(10), 2664–2670.

Audacity Team (2008) Audacity (Version 1.3.4-beta) [Computer program]. Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://audacityteam.org/

Bronson, C.L., Grubb Jr., T.C., Sattler, G.D. & Braun, M.J. (2003) Mate preference: a possible causal mechanism for a moving hybrid zone. Animal Behaviour, 65, 489–500.

Brown, J.R. & Wilson, E.O. (1956) Character displacement. Systematic Zoology, 5, 49–64.

Christie, P.J., Mennill, D.J. & Ratcliffe, L.M. (2003) Pitch shifts and song structure indicate male quality in the dawn chorus of black-capped chickadees. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 55, 341–348.

Dhondt, A.A. (2012) Interspecific competition in birds. Oxford University Press, 282.

Doutrelant, C., Leitao, A., Otter, K. & Lambrechts, A.A. (2000) Effect of Eurasian blue tit song syntax on great tit territorial responsiveness- an experimental test of the character shift hypothesis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 48, 119–124.

Davies, J.T., Meiri, S., Barraclough, T.G. & Gittleman, J.L. (2007) Species co-existence and character divergence across carnivores. Ecology Letters, 10, 146–152.

Grant, P.R. (1972) Convergent and divergent character displacement. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 4, 39–68.

Grava, A., Grava, T., Didier, R., Lait, L.A., Dosso, J., Koran, E., Burg, T.M. & Otter, K.A. (2012a) Interspecific dominance relationships and hybridization between black-capped and mountain chickadees. Behavioral Ecology, 23, 566–572.

Grava, A., Grava, T. & Otter, K. (2012b) Differential response to interspecific and intraspecific signals amongst chickadees. Ethology, 118, 711–720.

Grava, A., Otter, K.A., Grava, T., LaZerte, S.E., Poesel, A. & Rush, A.C. (2013a) Character displacement in dawn chorusing behaviour of sympatric mountain and black-capped chickadees. Animal Behaviour, 86, 177–187.

Grava, T., Grava A. & Otter K.A. (2013b) Habitat-induced changes in song consistency affect perception of social status in male chickadees. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, 67, 1699–1707

Hamao, S., Sugita, N. & Nishiumi, I. (2015) Geographic variation in bird songs: examination of the effects of sympatric related species on the acoustic structure of songs. Acta Ethologica, 19, 81–90.

Ho, R. (2006) Handbook of univariate and multivariate data analysis and interpretation with SPSS. Chapman and Hall/CRC.

Hoeschele, M., Moscicki, M.K., Otter, K.A., van Oort, H., Fort, K.T., Farrell, T.M., Lee, H., Robson, S.W.J. & Sturdy, C.B. (2010) Dominance signalled in an acoustic ornament. Animal Behaviour, 79, 657–664.

Huey, R.B., Pianka, E.R., Egan, M.E. & Coons, L.W. (1974) Ecological shifts in sympatry: Kalahari fossorial lizards (Typhlosaurus). Ecology, 55, 304–316.

LaZerte, S.E.L., Slabbekoorn, H. & Otter, K. (2016) Learning to cope: Vocal adjustment to urban noise is correlated with prior experience in black-capped chickadees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283, 20161058.

Legendre, P. & Legendre, L. (1998) Numerical Ecology. 2nd English Edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Lohr. B. (2008) Pitch-related cues in the songs of sympatric mountain and black-capped chickadees. Behavioural Processes, 77, 156–165.

McGregor, P.K., Catchpole, C.K., Dabelsteen, T., Falls, J.B., Fusani, L., Gerhardt, H.C., Gilbert, F., Horn, A.G., Klump, G.M., Kroodsma, D.E., Lambrechts, M.M., McComb, K.E., Nelson, D.A., Pepperberg, I.M., Ratcliffe, L., Searcy, W.A. & Weary, D.M. (1992) Design of playback experiments: the Thornbridge hall NATO ARW consensus. In: McGregor PK, editor. Playback studies in animal communication. New York: Plenum Press, 1–10.

McGregor, P.K. (1992) Quantifying responses to playback: one, many, or composite multivariate measures? In: McGregor PK, editor. Playback studies in animal communication. New York: Plenum Press, 1–10.

McGregor, P.K. (2000) Playback experiments: design and analysis. Acta Ethologica, 3, 3–8.

Melville, J. (2002) Competition and character displacement in two species of scincid lizards. Ecology Letters, 5, 386–393.

Mennill, D.J. & Otter, K.A. (2007) Status signaling and communication networks in chickadees: Complex communication with a simple song. In. Otter, K.A. editor. Ecology and behavior of chickadees and titmice: an integrated approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 215–233.

Mennill, D.J. & Ratcliffe, L.M. (2004) Overlapping and matching in the song contests of black-capped chickadees. Animal Behaviour, 67, 441–450.

Otter, K.A., Ratcliffe, L.M., Njegovan, M. & Fotheringham, J. (2002) Importance of frequency and temporal song matching in black-capped chickadees: evidence from interactive playback. Ethology, 108, 181–191

Ratcliffe, L. & Otter, K.A. (1996) Ecology and evolution of acoustic communication in birds. Kroodsma, D.E., Miller, E.H., editors. Ithaca: Comstock Publishing Associates, 339–355.

R Core Team (2016) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL http://www.R-project.org/

Ramsay, S.M., Otter, K.A., Mennill, D.J., Ratcliffe, L.M. & Boag, P.T. (2000) Divorce and extrapair mating in female black-capped chickadees (Parus atricapillus): separate strategies with a common target. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 49, 18–23.

Reudink, M.W., Mech, S.G. & Curry, R.L. (2006) Extrapair paternity and mate choice in a chickadee hybrid zone. Behavioral Ecology, 17, 56–62.

SAS Institute (2015) JMP® Version 12. Cary (NC): SAS Institute Inc.

Schluter, D. & McPhail, J.D. (1992) Ecological character displacement and speciation in sticklebacks. The American Naturalist, 140, 85–108.

Shackleton, S.A., Ratcliffe, L. & Weary, D.M. (1992) Relative frequency parameters and song recognition in black-capped chickadees. The Condor, 94, 782–785.

Specht, R. (2012) Avisoft-SASLab Pro. Avisoft Bioacoustics. URL http://www.avisoft.com/

Journal Information

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 98 98 35
PDF Downloads 32 32 17