Why do some birds follow the song of other birds?

Spring is the time for free outdoor concerts. If you walk in the morning or evening, you birds will be treated to a polyphonic singer. Blackbirds, Robbins, Nightingales: They sing loudly to attract a mate and keep competitors in the bay. Every bird sings its own song – or at least, almost every bird. For some creatures, such as starlings and song thrushes, it perfectly imitates the songs of other creatures or even the sounds of objects. Why do they do it?

“In general, species recognition is an important function of bird song,” says Hans Slapekorn, a behavioral biologist and bird sound expert at Leiden University. “If you sound the same, you know where to find each other – or get out of the way.” Similar species in the song sometimes make good use of the latter. “For example, the Black Cape and the Gordon Warler are closely related, and it’s hard for non-speakers to tell them anyway. If they’re close to each other, they ‘duplicate each other’s tunes.” When asked by Kanjan – even if it’s actually a plantation warrior – he thinks: the area is already occupied. “

Attracting at the dining table

There are many more reasons to follow each other, says Slapekorn. “If a bird follows the warning call of another species, it will mislead those birds and, for example, remove them from the dining table. We know that Jayce sometimes follows mawing bazaars to confuse other birds. ”

Some species have very different references to their song. “Parrots can follow us. But the stars are more adept at following neighboring horses, mopeds or kitchen doors. “In Australia lives a peacock-like bird called the lyrebird, which truly mimics the sounds of other creatures. The BBC movie clip, written by Sir David Attenborough, shows that a bird can fly just like the chainsaws used to tap the neighboring forest.

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Slapekorn: “Those lyreboards also make sounds for their descendants. For example, there were some models published in Tasmania. Long after they die, their descendants still sound the Australian landscape, which they only know from their parents’ song. ”

It is suspected that birds mainly use their vast hunting ability to attract potential mate. Slapekorn: “Women can determine how old a man is approximately. It takes time to create a set, and as a bird you need to remember all of those rhythms. So a man who can sing many songs sends the message: I am old enough to live for many years. “Birds are often 4 or 5 years old when talent is greatest; Older males may not be able to reproduce all strings.

What about women? If they think they are asking for a suitable partner, will it become a follower? “It would be tiring,” Slapekorn says. But they do not associate with the wrong ones. Take Garden Warbler and Black Cape: they sound similar, but they are not identical. “Through the black cap, black hat for men, and red hat for women. In Garden Borbler, both sexes are light brown. The black head will eventually choose the partner with the most beautiful hat. ”

Correction 11/6: An earlier version of this text was called ‘Greer’ by a gardener. It has been changed to ‘light brown’.

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