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Structure and Control of Duet Singing in the White - Crested Laughing Thrush, (Garrulax Leucolophus)

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The organization and control of the duet song of the White-crested Laughing Thrush, (Garralux leucolophus), was analyzed using programmed associative memory. Each member of a pair has a distinct vocabulary of syllables (Fig. 3). In a single duet sequence each bird utters syllables in alternation or in regular simultaneity with its mate (Fig. 1). Specific instances of exogenous and endogenous determination of call sequences exist which organize each bird's contribution to a duet. Song control programs (Figs. 6 and 7) derived from transition tables are statistically weighted and demonstrate the dependent (i.e. when the call is determined by the partner's previous utterance) and independent (when the call is determined by the endogenous pattern) parts of each bird's sequence. The song control programs present an accurate model of both the communication process and the mechanisms of control. The following results were obtained: 1) M6/22-F1 are linked to each other in a stimulus-response fashion. 2) If M24 is given, it initiates a new sub-sequence: (24-3-24). In this instance, the male initiates a shift in the female sequence and is an example of exogenous control. 3) Linear dependencies exist within both male and female sequences which are evidence for an endogenous component in the determination of syllables. 4) Exogenous control predominates early in the duet while an endogenous component predominates toward the end of a duet. The probability that a particular syllable will be uttered seems to depend on 1) the previous syllabie given by the partner, 2) the previous syllable given in the bird's own song sequence, 3) syllable sequence-position dependent periodicity (endogenous drift). It has been shown that duet sequences are sequence-position dependent and not entirely stationary processes. This means that the probability of a syllable being uttered at sequence-position T depends strongly on T. Hence, the probability of transitions from syllable to syllable is strongly event dependent and as a result, transitions early in the sequence cannot be treated with the same statistics as those occurring toward the end of the song.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Cellular and Comparative Biology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, N. Y., U.S.A


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