University of Manchester
3 files

Data and code to reproduce analyses from "Song preferences in female Java sparrows: familiarity or complexity?"

posted on 2024-04-15, 11:41 authored by Rebecca Lewis, Hiroharu Makioka, Tucker GilmanTucker Gilman, Masayo Soma

Songs play an important role in mate choice for a range of bird species. Many female birds show preferences for specific song features, such as complexity and temporal characteristics, or song familiarity. These features may indicate male quality, or help females to identify locally adapted or genetically compatible mates. Female song preference can shape mating patterns, drive sexual selection, promote local adaptation, and facilitate speciation. It is, therefore, important to understand female preferences to determine how they can contribute to selection and evolution. We examined female preference for song familiarity and song complexity in Java sparrows (Padda oryzivora), a species of conservation concern in the wild. Females were presented with pairs of song stimuli; females completing familiarity trials were presented with familiar (social father or social relative) and unfamiliar songs, and females completing complexity trials were presented with songs that differed in note repertoire or linearity (a measure of structural complexity, calculated as the number of note types divided by the number of unique transitions). We counted behavioural responses to determine preference, using a range of behaviours that are likely to indicate song preference in this species. Overall, females preferred their father’s song over unfamiliar songs, but we did not find strong evidence to suggest that females generalized this preference to other, non-father familiar songs. Females also showed some preference for complex, rather than simple songs, responding more to stimuli with larger note repertoires. Song linearity, on the other hand, had little impact on females’ responses. Our results suggest that female song preference in Java sparrow is multi-faceted, with a number of different factors affecting responses. Further investigation is necessary to work out how these, and other song features, contribute to female preference overall to understand more fully how preference could shape sexual selection, adaptation, and potentially population divergence in this species.


Training the next generation of environmental scientists

Natural Environment Research Council

Find out more...

Function and evolution of audio-visual communication: songbird study from comparative cognitive aspects

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

Find out more...

Evolution of complex sexual signals shared between males and females of songbirds

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

Find out more...


Usage metrics

    School of Natural Sciences



    Ref. manager