Behaviour 2019
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 Song discrimination by territorial male common blackbirds: Neighbour versus stranger
Mehrnaz Tavasoli1, Dianne Brunton2, Aaron Harmer3. 1Massey University, Auckland, NorthShore, New Zealand; 2Massey Univestity, Auckland, NorthShore, New Zealand; 3Massey University, Auckland, NorthShore, New Zealand

Territorial behaviours have an important role in territory stability and social dynamics. Territorial behaviours include both long-range signaling and short-range confrontations (Stamps & Krishnan, 1997) and warn conspecifics against approaching too close. In this study, we carried out a field playback experiment to investigate how individual common blackbirds vary in response to the song (a long-range signal) of neighbours and strangers. We recorded variation in response of 10 territorial male blackbirds to different playbacks, including dawn chorus, daytime song, neighbours, strangers and a heterospecific control. We found that male blackbirds respond strongly to stranger’s songs irrespective of the time of day. Additionally, their response to a neighbour’s daytime song is much weaker than their response to a neighbour’s dawn song, which has a more territorial function. These results suggest that male blackbirds can distinguish between intruder and neighbour signals, which is comparable to results found for the dear enemy hypothesis in other passerines.