Experiments on species discrimination in Myiarchus flycatchers. American Museum novitates ; no. 2126

Supplemental Materials
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
New York, N.Y. : American Museum of Natural History
"Field experiments were conducted on one species in New York (Myiarchus crinitus) and three species in Arizona (M. tyrannulus, M. cinerascens, M. tuberculifer) to test the hypothesis that differences in vocalizations function as the basis for species discrimination by these birds. 2. The response of territorial birds to various combinations of audio signals afforded by playback of prepared tapes of five species of Myiarchus, and to visual signals provided by mounted specimens of Myiarchus and non-Myiarchus species, was observed and photographed. 3. Each of the four species demonstrated an ability to discriminate between the vocal repertoires of five species of Myiarchus and reacted positively only to that repertoire representative of its own species. 4. Each of the four species reacted aggressively and even attacked mounted specimens, irrespective of species, providing these specimens were associated experimentally with playback of the vocal repertoire characteristic of the species being tested. 5. There was no evidence of discrimination by experimental birds between the visual signals presented by the various Myiarchus mounts used, but Myiarchus mounts appeared to have more stimulus value than mounts of non-Myiarchus species. 6. These results support the hypothesis that differences in vocalizations do function as the basis for species discrimination by these birds. They also lend weight to the use of species-specific vocal patterns as legitimate taxonomic characters, when considered in conjunction with more conventional morphological characters, in the establishment of specific limits and relationships within this difficult genus"--P. 15-16.
16 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 16).