Variation in female songbird state determines signal strength needed to evoke copulation [article]

Ammon Perkes, Bernd Pfrommer, Kostas Daniilidis, David White, Marc F Schmidt
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
It is the female response to male signals that determines courtship success. In most songbirds, females control reproduction via the copulation solicitation display (CSD), an innate, stereotyped posture produced in direct response to male displays. Because CSD can be elicited in the absence of males by the presentation of recorded song, CSD production enables investigations into the effects of underlying signal features and behavioral state on female mating preferences. Using computer vision to
more » ... quantify CSD trajectory in female brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), we show that both song quality and a female's internal state predict CSD production, as well as the onset latency and duration of the display. We also show that CSD can be produced in a graded fashion based on both signal strength and internal state. These results emphasize the importance of underlying receiver state in determining behavioral responses and suggest that female responsiveness acts in conjunction with male signal strength to determine the efficacy of male courtship.
doi:10.1101/2021.05.19.444794 fatcat:3zij6htb55a2tli7sdm5aq6r6u