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The quality of complex communication signals, such as birdsong, is difficult to assess and compare across individuals or species. A new study on skylark song avoids the problem of signal complexity by assessing motor performance during the silent gaps of songs. This provides a metric of song quality applicable to species with very diverse songs, which facilitates novel types of analyses and comparisons in avian bioacoustics.
Cardoso, G. C. (2014). Studying the silent side of birdsong. BMC Biology, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-014-0062-8