Data for "Dynamic sex-specific responses to synthetic songs in a duetting suboscine passerine"

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Many bird species produce temporally coordinated duets and choruses, requiring the rapid integration of auditory perception and motor production. While males and females of some species are known to participate in these displays for sex-specific purposes, few studies have identified perceptual features that trigger sex-specific contributions of coordinated song. Especially little is known about perception and production in duetting suboscine passerines which are thought to have innate songs and largely static, rather than dynamic, vocal behavior. Here, we used synthetic stimuli in a playback experiment on chestnut-backed antbirds (Myrmeciza exsul) to (1) test if differences in song frequency (Hz) can trigger sex-specific vocal behavior in a suboscine passerine (2) test for the functions of duetting in males and females of this species, and (3) determine if these suboscines can dynamically adjust the temporal and spectral features of their songs. We found sex-specific responses to synthetic playback differing in song frequency, providing evidence that in this context males sing in duets for general territory defense and females join in for mate guarding purposes. In addition, we found that the birds altered the frequency, duration, and timing of their songs depending on the frequency of the playback songs. Thus, we show that these birds integrate spectral and temporal information about conspecific songs and actively modulate their responses in sex-specific ways.


The data in this folder were described and analyzed in the following paper:

Fishbein, A. F., Löschner, J., Mallon, J. M., Wilkinson, G. S. (2018) Dynamic sex specific responses to synthetic songs in a duetting suboscine passerine. PLOS ONE.

Three excel files are included:

“CBAsong cts to playbacks.xls” contains counts of songs and number of notes in songs by chestnut-backed antbirds at Barro Colorado Island in response to playback experiments conducted between July 26 and August 12, 2016. Field notes for each playback trial are also included.

“CBAsong_msmts.xls” details acoustic features of each song by chestnut-backed antbirds recorded during these playback experiments. Acoustic features were extracted using Raven Pro 1.4.

“CBAmovements.xls” contains x-y coordinates of each song produced by chestnut-backed antbirds during recordings with a six microphone array and each bird’s distance from the speaker when singing.