An analysis of vocalizations of the rufoussided towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus oregonus (Bell) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/gt54kq659

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  • The purpose of this study was to record on tape and to analyze the sonagrams of the complete repertoire of the vocalizations of the Rufous-sided Towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus oregonus. Meanings were assigned to a number of the calls. Sounds of nestlings, juveniles, and vocalizations connected with parental care were not included in this study. The following advertising songs were noted in the male only: 1. Full song, one or two introductory notes followed by a fast trill. 2. Introductory note, often used alone or in pairs. 3. Fast trill. 4. Medium trill. 5. Slow trill. With the exception of the Thup note, heard only from the male, and the Kip note, heard only from the female, all call notes were heard from both sexes. The complete list of calls, with meanings assigned where possible, is as follows: 1. Chirp, primarily an attention getter. 2. Meow, usually indicative of the presence of a disturbing factor. 3. See, highly variable, presumably a contact call. 4. Chip, intense fear, alarm note. 5. Thup, contentment. 6. Tzip, frustration or impatience. 7. Tsk, frequent component of secondary song. 8. Chatter, sexual desire. 9. Kip, a post-copulatory note. 10. Slur note, important component of secondary song, also may indicate mild distress. 11. Twitter, used mainly in secondary song. Secondary songs are the softly whispered, usually complex, vocalizations by both sexes, heard only at very close range. Their extreme complexity and variability indicate that they serve some purpose other than to convey information. It is suggested that while advertising song, serving as an isolating mechanism, would diverge in form as part of the process of speciation, the call notes and the secondary songs are likely to remain unchanged. Thus sibling species should have unlike songs but similar call notes and secondary songs. Should this prove to be the case, studies of entire vocal repertoires could prove useful in the study of phylogeny.
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