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Vocal Mimicry in Starlings

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Starlings imitate a variety of avian species and have a repertoire of about 15-20 distinct imitations. They also imitate a few sounds other than those of wild birds. The calls of abundant species, calls that are simple in frequency structure and calls that show little amplitude modulation are preferentially imitated. There are local dialects of mimicked sounds. These results are discussed in relation to possible functional explanations of vocal mimicry. Explanations which involve the deceit of other birds are rejected. It is concluded that the understanding of vocal mimicry is probably not distinct from the understanding of the rest of the song.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853984x00182
1984-01-01
2015-06-30

Affiliations: 1: (Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, Oxford, England

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