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By C. K. Catchpole;P. J. B. Slater

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The ventral muscles appear to be more concerned with the control of frequency. Although syringeal muscles are important in controlling such aspects of singing as timing and frequency, exactly how this is done, through movements of the labia and membranes in the lumen, is still poorly understood. As every human being knows, speaking has to be somehow coordinated with breathing for respiratory purposes, and birds face the same problem. This may be particularly acute in birds such as canaries, which sing in long bursts.

27 production and perception Fig. 4. Vocal performance in New World Sparrows studied by Podos (1997). a) The triangular distribution of frequency bandwidths plotted against trill rates from the songs of various species, and b) a schematic representation of how high and low performance songs can be identified (from Searcy & Nowicki 2005). (2004) used this measure of performance in selecting swamp sparrow songs to play back to females. They found that females consistently displayed more to songs closer to the performance limit, suggesting that females may well use measures of song quality in female choice.

2004) used this measure of performance in selecting swamp sparrow songs to play back to females. They found that females consistently displayed more to songs closer to the performance limit, suggesting that females may well use measures of song quality in female choice. As we will see later in Chapter 7, females are extremely selective when choosing a mate, and female choice for song quality may have played an important role in the evolution of male song. 3 Hearing Sound production is only one half of the communication system, the other being hearing, the ability to detect, identify and discriminate incoming sounds.

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