IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Song amplitude affects territorial aggression of male receivers in chaffinches


  • H. Brumm
  • M. Ritschard


The evolution of bird song is closely related to sexual selection as birds use their songs for mate attraction and territorial defense. Recently, it has been shown that song amplitude can differ markedly between males and that females prefer louder songs. However, it is not known what constrains the production of loud songs. Here, we investigated how interindividual variation in song amplitude affects male--male territorial interactions. We simulated territorial intrusions by exposing male chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) to song amplitudes consistent with the high and low end of the distribution of naturally occurring interindividual variation and found significantly stronger territorial behaviors in males exposed to high-amplitude songs. In particular, males sang less, approached the simulated rival closer, and stayed longer in the vicinity when the playback loudspeaker broadcasted louder songs. Our results demonstrate that the intensity of territorial behavior in chaffinches is modulated by the amplitude of songs to which they are exposed, suggesting that social aggression is likely to constrain song performance in this species. We conclude that the variation in song amplitude between males is, at least partly, a result of male--male competition as probably not all males are able to bear the potential costs of increased social aggression. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Brumm & M. Ritschard, 2011. "Song amplitude affects territorial aggression of male receivers in chaffinches," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(2), pages 310-316.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:2:p:310-316

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bates, Douglas & M├Ąchler, Martin & Bolker, Ben & Walker, Steve, 2015. "Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models Using lme4," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 67(i01).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:2:p:310-316. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.