Organization of Agonistic Vocalizations in Black-Chinned Hummingbirds

Kathryn M. Rusch, Carolyn L. Pytte, Millicent S. Ficken
1996 The Condor  
We describe vocalizations of Black-chinned Hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandrl] recorded during agonistic encounters at feeders. Calls are composed of one to five different note-types that comprise a recombinatorial system exhibiting syntax. A Markov analysis revealed non-random ordering of note-types. The distribution of call-types (unique combinations of notes) illustrates openness; the number of call-types increases as more calls are sampled. Constraints on call length occur that are related
more » ... ur that are related to the length of individual note-types; shorter note-types are more common in calls with more notes. No sex differences occurred in the call-types with the exception of the Z note which occurred more often in male calls. The agonistic vocalizations of these hummingbirds demonstrate a level of vocal complexity comparable to songs of many passeriues. We compare the vocalizations of the Black-chinned Hummingbird with studies ofAnna' s Hummingbird (CaZypte anna) and point out major differences in repertoire organization. Marked similarities occur between organization of calls in certain chickadees (Parus) and that of the Black-chinned Hummingbird. This finding is surprising in view of their phyletic differences, but may reflect certain underlying constraints on the organization of avian vocalizations.
doi:10.2307/1369568 fatcat:txuyh6a7sfbuzpa7zdrkmy4pmy