Document Detail

Factors shaping the ontogeny of vocal signals in a wild parrot.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23038735     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Parrots rely heavily on vocal signals to maintain their social and mobile lifestyles. We studied vocal ontogeny in nests of wild green-rumped parrotlets (Forpus passerinus) in Venezuela. We identified three successive phases of vocal signaling that corresponded closely to three independently derived phases of physiological development. For each ontogenetic phase, we characterized the relative importance of anatomical constraints, motor skills necessary for responding to specific contexts of the immediate environment, and the learning of signals that are necessary for adult forms of communication. We observed shifts in the relative importance of these three factors as individuals progressed from one stage to the next; there was no single fixed ratio of factors that applied across the entire ontogenetic sequence. The earliest vocalizations were short in duration as predicted from physical constraints and under-developed motor control. Calls became longer and frequency modulated during intermediate nestling ages in line with motor skills required for competitive begging. In the week before fledging, calls drastically shortened in accordance with the flight-constrained short durations of adult contact calls. The latter constraints were made evident by the demonstrated links between wing-assisted incline running, a widespread prelude to avian flight, just before the shift from long duration begging calls to short duration contact calls. At least in this species, the shifting emphases of factors at different ontogenetic stages precluded the morphing of the intermediate stage begging calls into adult contact calls; as shown in a prior study (Berg et al. 2012), the latter are influenced by sample templates provided by parents.
Karl S Berg; Steven R Beissinger; Jack W Bradbury
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-10-4
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1477-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-5     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Cornell University, USA; University of California, Berkeley, USA;
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