Inter- and intra-season stability of vocal individual signatures in a social seabird, the crested auklet

  • Klenova A
  • Zubakin V
  • Zubakina E
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Vocal plasticity due to changes of social context is well documented in
passerine birds. In other bird species, the impact of social environment
changes on the whole vocal structure and on individual specific
signatures remains largely unexplored. Here, we assessed inter- and
intra-season stability of specific features of individual signatures in
advertising calls of crested auklet (Aethia cristatella) males and
tested the effects of pair mate and territory changes on the stability
of the calls. The crested auklet is a highly social seabird of the North
Pacific that breeds in dense colonies, and its individuals switch pair
mates and territories with probability of 25-54%. During summer
2008-2010, we recorded 464 trumpet calls from 21 individually marked
males and determined their pair mates and positions of their displaying
places on a breeding colony of Talan Island, Sea of Okhotsk. We found
that strong individual specific features of crested auklet trumpet calls
stay stable not only during one season but also from year to year.
However, we failed to find any effects of pair mate or territory changes
on individual signatures of crested auklet trumpet calls. Our results
suggest that crested auklets can potentially use their individually
specific trumpet calls to form long-term social bonds both between pair
mates and between neighbors; however, future experimental studies should
test whether this is indeed the case.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acoustic communication
  • Auks
  • Call individuality
  • Caller reliability
  • Individual identity
  • Vocal plasticity

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  • Anna V. Klenova

  • Victor A. Zubakin

  • Elena V. Zubakina

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