Munich Neuroscience Calendar


16.01.2020, 13:00 Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie
until 14:00
Event Type: Talk
Speaker: László Zsolt Garamszegi
Institute: Institute of Ecology and Botany, Centre for Ecological Research, Várátót, Hungary

Title: Females as unsung heroines in the evolution of birdsong

MPI für Ornithologie
82319 Seewiesen

Host: Clemens Küpper
Host Email:
The conventional framework for the study of bird song is that males do the singing and females do the listening. Under
this scheme, sex-specific roles in signalling typically involve the advertisement of male quality on one hand, and female
choice based on song content on the other. Although many studies proved that male attributes correlate with song
performance, the link between superior songs and mating success remains elusive. One potential explanation for the
lack of a general applicability of the classical concept is that females’ role in the acoustic communication mediating the
function and evolution of song is overly simplified therein. Accordingly, using field data from a European passerine
species I will demonstrate how female quality can shape the song output of a male via within-individual plasticity and
how patterns of assortative/disassortative matings can rearrange rules for female choice. Moreover, relying on comparative
data from a large number of species, I will also show how sharpened competition for males can favour advertisement
songs in females in an evolutionary time scale.

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