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STRUCTURE, GEOGRAPHY AND ORIGIN OF DIALECTS IN THE TRADITIVE SONG OF THE FOREST WEAVER PLOCEUS BICOLOR SCLATERI IN NATAL, S. AFRICA

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From a 21-year-long combined field and laboratory study we describe the general song structure and local song dialects of this species. These dialects differ in syntactic and phonological charateristics. Within its first 24 months the individual learns a song from its parents and keeps that song constant throughout life. In free-living populations dialects remained constant over the total study period. We could exclude that the dialects are an acoustic window phenomenon. We found individual song variations within dialects which suggest a derivation of local dialects from family-specific songs, enhanced by man-induced habitat fragmentation.

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