Macrogeographic Variation in the Body Size and Territorial Vocalizations of Male Common Loons (Gavia immer)

  • Mager J
  • Walcott C
  • Evers D
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Geographic variation in the body mass and acoustic parameters of territorial ‘yodels’ recorded from male Common Loons ( Gavia immer ) were assessed for individuals breeding on territories across the eastern United States. Multivariate analyses incorporating male body mass, body size, the acoustic parameters of yodels, and geo- graphic latitude and longitude indicated that males inhabiting lakes in northwestern regions were smaller and pro- duced higher-frequency yodels. These relationships strengthen previous observations of clinal geographic variation in loon body size and vocal behavior across North America, but also support the hypothesis that the dominant fre- quencies of yodels are in part influenced by male body size. Therefore, the frequencies loons use for long-distance communication are apparently influenced, at least in part, by those selective forces responsible for shaping optimal body size.

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  • John Nicholas Mager

  • Charles Walcott

  • David Evers

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