Nati on sparrow songs at the International Ornithological Congress

Postdoc Natalia Garcia presented the first results of a project studying vocal performance in the Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis). This species shows vocal dialects that, contrary to what happens in other Zonotrichia species, seem to be shaped by habitat type: their song trills are slower in closed environments and are very fast in open ones . Natalia analyzed a dataset including recordings from 1987, 2000 and 2010-2011 taken across a transect that extends through both open and closed habitats. She found that the songs of Z. capensis present a trade-off between the trill notes rate and the trill notes frequency bandwidth, indicating they are also performance-limited. She also tested if vocal performance relative to that performance limit differed between open and closed habitats (it does) and if it changed through time (it did in the closed habitat!).

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