Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The vocal repertoire of the cooperatively breeding Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea)

Miyako H. Warrington A D , Paul G. McDonald B , Aliza K. Sager A and Simon C. Griffith A C E

A Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.

B Behavioural and Physiological Ecology Research Centre, Zoology, School of Environmental and Rural Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

C School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

D Present address: Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, 70 Dysart Road, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2, Canada.

E Corresponding author. Email: simon.griffith@mq.edu.au

Emu 114(3) 206-221 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU13051
Submitted: 12 June 2013  Accepted: 16 January 2014   Published: 5 June 2014

Abstract

The role of acoustic communication in facilitating social interactions and mediating cooperative behaviour has been highlighted by many studies. In the ‘social complexity hypothesis’ of communication, many more specialised signals are likely to evolve in social species where many individuals interact in multiple behaviours. However, before the function of vocalisations in these systems can be elucidated accurately, the characteristics and social context of each vocalisation must be determined. Apostlebirds (Struthidea cinerea) are a highly vocal and social species with an obligate cooperatively breeding life-history. In this study, we describe the environmental and behavioural context of the 17 most common calls from the vocal repertoire of a study population of Apostlebirds in north-western New South Wales. The vocalisations given by individuals ranged from simple, monosyllabic calls through to more complex calls with multiple syllables and frequency modulations. All these calls were broadly categorised as close-range, long-range, alarm context, or associated with nesting. Most call-types were given by both sexes, and by both breeders and helpers, including alarm calls that were given by both juveniles and adults. In contrast, calls given during inter-group interactions were predominantly by adults.

Additional keywords: avian acoustics, call analysis, Corcoracidae, sociality.


References

Baker, M. C. (2004). The chorus song of cooperatively breeding Laughing Kookaburras (Coraciiformes, Halcyonidae : Dacelo novaeguineae): characterization and comparison among groups. Ethology 110, 21–35.
The chorus song of cooperatively breeding Laughing Kookaburras (Coraciiformes, Halcyonidae : Dacelo novaeguineae): characterization and comparison among groups.CrossRef | open url image1

Baker, M. C. (2009). Information content in chorus songs of the group-living Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis) in Western Australia. Ethology 115, 227–238.
Information content in chorus songs of the group-living Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis) in Western Australia.CrossRef | open url image1

Baldwin, M. (1974). Studies of the Apostle Bird at Inverell. Part I. General behaviour. Sunbird 5, 77–88. open url image1

Baldwin, M. (1975). Studies of the Apostle Bird at Inverell. Part II. Breeding behaviour. Sunbird 6, 1–7. open url image1

Beecher, M. D., Beecher, I. M., and Hahn, S. (1981). Parent–offspring recognition in Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia): II. Development and acoustic basis. Animal Behaviour 29, 95–101.
Parent–offspring recognition in Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia): II. Development and acoustic basis.CrossRef | open url image1

Black, J. M. (1988). Preflight signalling in swans: a mechanism for group cohesion and flock formation. Ethology 79, 143–157.
Preflight signalling in swans: a mechanism for group cohesion and flock formation.CrossRef | open url image1

Blumstein, D. T., and Armitage, K. B. (1997). Does sociality drive the evolution of communicative complexity? A comparative test with ground dwelling sciurid alarm calls. American Naturalist 150, 179–200.
Does sociality drive the evolution of communicative complexity? A comparative test with ground dwelling sciurid alarm calls.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD1cnit1OlsA%3D%3D&md5=6c539e516ab15d2fe4ac0c98ca512de2CAS | 18811281PubMed | open url image1

Bousquet, C. A. H., Sumpter, D. J. T., and Manser, M. B. (2010). Moving calls: a vocal mechanism underlying quorum decisions in cohesive groups. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London – B. Biological Sciences 278(1711), 1482–1488.

Brown, E. D., and Farabaugh, S. M. (1991). Song sharing in a group-living songbird, the Australian Magpie, Gymnorhina Tibicen. Part III. Sex specificity and individual specificity of vocal parts in communal chorus and duet songs. Behaviour 118, 244–274.
Song sharing in a group-living songbird, the Australian Magpie, Gymnorhina Tibicen. Part III. Sex specificity and individual specificity of vocal parts in communal chorus and duet songs.CrossRef | open url image1

Brown, E. D., Farabaugh, S. M., and Veltman, C. J. (1988). Song sharing in a group-living songbird, the Australian Magpie, Gymnorhina tibicen. Part I. Vocal sharing within and among social groups. Behaviour 104, 1–27.
Song sharing in a group-living songbird, the Australian Magpie, Gymnorhina tibicen. Part I. Vocal sharing within and among social groups.CrossRef | open url image1

Catchpole, C. K., and Slater, P. J. B. (2008). ‘Bird Song: Biological Themes and Variations’, 2nd edn. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.)

Chamberlain, D. R., and Cornwell, G. W. (1971). Selected vocalizations of the Common Crow. Auk 88, 613–634. open url image1

Chapman, G. (1998). The social life of the Apostlebird Struthidea cinerea. Emu 98, 178–183.
The social life of the Apostlebird Struthidea cinerea.CrossRef | open url image1

Charif, R., Strickman, L., and Waack, A. (2008). ‘Raven Pro 1.3 User’s Manual.’ (Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Ithaca, NY.)

Clutton-Brock, T. (2002). Breeding together: kin selection and mutualism in cooperative vertebrates. Science 296, 69–72.
Breeding together: kin selection and mutualism in cooperative vertebrates.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD38XivVSqs70%3D&md5=4d001b273c3aa817d3f306ecb686dc4aCAS | 11935014PubMed | open url image1

Falls, J. B. (1982). Individual recognition by sounds in birds. In ‘Acoustic Communication in Birds’. (Eds D. E. Kroodsma and E. H. Miller.) pp. 237–278. (Academic Press: New York.)

Freeberg, T. M., Dunbar, R. I. M., and Ord, T. J. (2012). Social complexity as a proximate and ultimate factor in communicative complexity. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 367, 1785–1801.
Social complexity as a proximate and ultimate factor in communicative complexity.CrossRef | 22641818PubMed | open url image1

Goodale, E., and Podos, J. (2010). Persistence of song types in Darwin’s Finches, Geospiza fortis, over four decades. Biology Letters 6, 589–592.
Persistence of song types in Darwin’s Finches, Geospiza fortis, over four decades.CrossRef | 20392717PubMed | open url image1

Greig, E., and Pruett-Jones, S. (2008). Splendid songs: the vocal behaviour of Splendid Fairy-wrens (Malurus splendens melanotus). Emu 108, 103–114.
Splendid songs: the vocal behaviour of Splendid Fairy-wrens (Malurus splendens melanotus).CrossRef | open url image1

Griesser, M., Barnaby, J., Schneider, N. A., Figenschau, N., Wright, J., Griffith, S. C., Kazem, A., and Russell, A. F. (2009). Influence of winter ranging behaviour on the social organization of a cooperatively breeding bird species, the Apostlebird. Ethology 115, 888–896.
Influence of winter ranging behaviour on the social organization of a cooperatively breeding bird species, the Apostlebird.CrossRef | open url image1

Griffiths, R., Daan, S., and Dijkstra, C. (1996). Sex identification in birds using two CHD genes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 263, 1251–1256.
Sex identification in birds using two CHD genes.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaK28XmsFCitLw%3D&md5=db2a8f4429629efa936d6951f8b8cbc6CAS | open url image1

Higgins, P. J., Peter, J. M., and Cowling, S. J. (2006). Apostlebird. In ‘Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol. 7: Boatbill to Starlings’. (Eds P. J. Higgins, J. M. Peter, S. J. Cowling.) pp. 797–815. (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.)

Halpin, Z. T. (1991). Kin recognition cues of vertebrates. In ‘Kin Recognition’. (Ed. P.G. Hepper.) pp. 220–258. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.)

Hill, B. G., and Lein, M. R. (1985). The non-song vocal repertoire of the White-crowned Sparrow. Condor 87, 327–335.
The non-song vocal repertoire of the White-crowned Sparrow.CrossRef | open url image1

Janik, V. M. (1999). Pitfalls in the categorization of behaviour: a comparison of dolphin whistle classification methods. Animal Behaviour 57, 133–143.
Pitfalls in the categorization of behaviour: a comparison of dolphin whistle classification methods.CrossRef | 10053080PubMed | open url image1

Johnson, F. R., McNaughton, E. J., Shelley, C. D., and Blumstein, D. T. (2003). Mechanisms of heterospecific recognition in avian mobbing calls. Australian Journal of Zoology 51, 577–585.
Mechanisms of heterospecific recognition in avian mobbing calls.CrossRef | open url image1

Kalinowski, S. T., Taper, M. L., and Marshall, T. C. (2007). Revising how the computer program CERVUS accommodates genotyping error increases success in paternity assignment. Molecular Ecology 16, 1099–1106.
Revising how the computer program CERVUS accommodates genotyping error increases success in paternity assignment.CrossRef | 17305863PubMed | open url image1

Kennedy, R. A. W., Evans, C. S., and McDonald, P. G. (2009). Individual distinctiveness in the mobbing call of a cooperative bird, the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala. Journal of Avian Biology 40, 481–490.
Individual distinctiveness in the mobbing call of a cooperative bird, the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala.CrossRef | open url image1

Krams, I., Krama, T., Freeberg, T. M., Kullberg, C., and Lucas, J. R. (2012). Linking social complexity and vocal complexity: a parid perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 367, 1879–1891.
Linking social complexity and vocal complexity: a parid perspective.CrossRef | 22641826PubMed | open url image1

Marler, P. (2004). Bird calls: a cornucopia for communication. In ‘Nature’s Music: The Science of Birdsong’. (Ed. P. S. H. Marler.) pp. 132–177 (Elsevier Academic Press: San Diego, CA.)

Mathevon, N., Koralek, A., Weldele, M., Glickman, S. E., and Theunissen, F. (2010). What the hyena’s laugh tells: sex, age, dominance and individual signature in the giggling call of Crocuta crocuta. BMC Ecology 10, 9.
What the hyena’s laugh tells: sex, age, dominance and individual signature in the giggling call of Crocuta crocuta.CrossRef | 20353550PubMed | open url image1

McDonald, P. G. (2012). Cooperative bird differentiates between the calls of different individuals, even when vocalizations were from completely unfamiliar individuals. Biology Letters 8, 365–368.
Cooperative bird differentiates between the calls of different individuals, even when vocalizations were from completely unfamiliar individuals.CrossRef | 22258445PubMed | open url image1

McDonald, P. G., and Wright, J. (2011). Bell Miner provisioning calls are more similar among relatives and are used by helpers at the nest to bias their effort towards kin. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 278, 3403–3411.
Bell Miner provisioning calls are more similar among relatives and are used by helpers at the nest to bias their effort towards kin.CrossRef | open url image1

McDonald, P. G., Heathcote, C. F., Clarke, M. F., Wright, J., and Kazem, A. J. N. (2007). Provisioning calls of the cooperatively breeding Bell Miner Manorina melanophrys encode sufficient information for individual discrimination. Journal of Avian Biology 38, 113–121.
Provisioning calls of the cooperatively breeding Bell Miner Manorina melanophrys encode sufficient information for individual discrimination.CrossRef | open url image1

Payne, R. B., Payne, L. L., Rowley, I., and Russell, E. M. (1991). Social recognition and response to song in cooperative Red-winged Fairy-wrens. Auk 108, 811–819. open url image1

Podos, J. (1997). A performance constraint on the evolution of trilled vocalizations in a songbird family (Passeriformes : Emberizidae). Evolution 51, 537–551.
A performance constraint on the evolution of trilled vocalizations in a songbird family (Passeriformes : Emberizidae).CrossRef | open url image1

Pollard, K. A., and Blumstein, D. T. (2012). Evolving communicative complexity: insights from rodents and beyond. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 367, 1869–1878.
Evolving communicative complexity: insights from rodents and beyond.CrossRef | 22641825PubMed | open url image1

Popa-Lisseanu, A. G., Bontadina, F., Mora, O., and Ibanez, C. (2008). Highly structured fission–fusion societies in an aerial-hawking, carnivorous bat. Animal Behaviour 75, 471–482.
Highly structured fission–fusion societies in an aerial-hawking, carnivorous bat.CrossRef | open url image1

Price, J. J. (1999). Recognition of family-specific calls in Stripe-backed Wrens. Animal Behaviour 57, 483–492.
Recognition of family-specific calls in Stripe-backed Wrens.CrossRef | 10049489PubMed | open url image1

Radford, A. N. (2004). Vocal mediation of foraging competition in the cooperatively breeding Green Woodhoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 56, 279–285.
Vocal mediation of foraging competition in the cooperatively breeding Green Woodhoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus).CrossRef | open url image1

Radford, A. N., and Ridley, A. R. (2008). Close calling regulates spacing between foraging competitors in the group-living Pied Babbler. Animal Behaviour 75, 519–527.
Close calling regulates spacing between foraging competitors in the group-living Pied Babbler.CrossRef | open url image1

Reyer, H. U., and Schmidl, D. (1988). Helpers have little to laugh about: group structure and vocalisation in the Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae. Emu 88, 150–160.
Helpers have little to laugh about: group structure and vocalisation in the Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae.CrossRef | open url image1

Rollins, L. A., Holleley, C. E., Wright, J., Russell, A. F., and Griffith, S. C. (2010). Isolation and characterization of 12 polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite loci in the Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea). Conservation Genetics Resources 2, 229–231.

Searcy, W. A. (1992). Song repertoire and mate choice in birds. American Zoologist 32, 71–80. open url image1

Sethi, V. K., and Bhatt, D. (2008). Call repertoire of an endemic avian species, the Indian Chat Cercomela fusca. Current Science 94, 1173–1179. open url image1

Sharp, S. P., and Hatchwell, B. J. (2005). Individuality in the contact calls of cooperatively breeding Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus). Behaviour 142, 1559–1575.
Individuality in the contact calls of cooperatively breeding Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus).CrossRef | open url image1

Smith, W. J., and Smith, A. M. (1996). Vocal signalling of the Great Crested Flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus (Aves, Tyrannidae). Ethology 102, 705–723. open url image1

Snowdon, C. T., and Hausberger, M. (1997). ‘Social Influences on Vocal Development.’ (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.)

Stoddard, P. K. (1996). Vocal recognition of neighbours by territorial passerines. In ‘Ecology and Evolution of Acoustic Communication in Birds’. (Eds D. E. Kroodsma and E. H. Miller.) pp. 356–374. (Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY.)

Tibbetts, E. A., and Dale, J. (2007). Individual recognition: it is good to be different. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 22, 529–537.
Individual recognition: it is good to be different.CrossRef | open url image1

Townsend, S. W., Hollen, L. I., and Manser, M. B. (2010). Meerkat close calls encode group-specific signatures, but receivers fail to discriminate. Animal Behaviour 80, 133–138.
Meerkat close calls encode group-specific signatures, but receivers fail to discriminate.CrossRef | open url image1

Trainer, J. M., and McDonald, D. B. (1993). Vocal repertoire of the Long-tailed Manakin and its relation to male–male cooperation. Condor 95, 769–781.
Vocal repertoire of the Long-tailed Manakin and its relation to male–male cooperation.CrossRef | open url image1

Warrington, M. H., Rollins, L. A., Raihani, N. J., Russell, A. F., and Griffith, S. C. (2013). Genetic monogamy despite variable ecological conditions and social environment in the cooperatively breeding Apostlebird. Ecology & Evolution 3, 4669–4682.
Genetic monogamy despite variable ecological conditions and social environment in the cooperatively breeding Apostlebird.CrossRef | open url image1

Whitmore, M. J. (1981). Egg predation and possible usurption of an Australian Magpie-lark’s nest by Apostlebirds. Emu 81, 111–112.
Egg predation and possible usurption of an Australian Magpie-lark’s nest by Apostlebirds.CrossRef | open url image1

Woxvold, I. A. (2004). Breeding ecology and group dynamics of the Apostlebird. Australian Journal of Zoology 52, 561–581.
Breeding ecology and group dynamics of the Apostlebird.CrossRef | open url image1

Woxvold, I. A., and Magrath, M. J. L. (2005). Helping enhances multiple components of reproductive success in the cooperatively breeding Apostlebird. Journal of Animal Ecology 74, 1039–1050.
Helping enhances multiple components of reproductive success in the cooperatively breeding Apostlebird.CrossRef | open url image1

Woxvold, I. A., and Mulder, R. A. (2008). Mixed mating strategies in cooperatively breeding Apostlebirds Struthidea cinerea. Journal of Avian Biology 39, 50–56.
Mixed mating strategies in cooperatively breeding Apostlebirds Struthidea cinerea.CrossRef | open url image1



Export Citation