Collective singing dynamics in a competition context drive song plasticity [article]

Pepe Alcami, Shouwen Ma, Manfred Gahr
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
Animals need to adapt their motor production to challenging social conditions at behaviorally-relevant time scales. Here, we use telemetric recording technology from freely-behaving canaries in natural-like social conditions in which male canaries compete for females. We report that male canaries influence each other's singing during 'duels' characterized by temporal overlaps of their songs, which are often followed by physical aggression. Duels evolve in time and both canaries can lead or
more » ... w the other canary's song on a song-to-song basis. Remarkably, overlapping behavior induces singing plasticity: both song length and its variability increase when canaries overlap their songs. Furthermore, song acoustic properties reveal a link between dueling and song similarity. Altogether, results show that canary singing behavior is plastic in social environments.
doi:10.1101/803411 fatcat:7gc3yugjrzayrln4re4dbtpnni