Bird song may sound like whimsical fun to humanity, but for birds, it is a complex system with vital functions. The first primary purpose of bird vocalization is to attract mates – experiments suggest that the quality, variety, and power of a bird’s song may be a good indicator for physical fitness. The second primary purpose of the bird song is territory defense.
Territorial bird species such as ravens, blue jays, European robins, and swifts use bird song to negotiate territorial boundaries. Researchers believe that since song quality may be indicative of a bird’s strength and health, individual birds can interpret how formidable their rivals are and thus avoid futile fights.
Birds also communicate through song, sometimes even across species. For example, mobbing calls are used to recruit individual birds in the area to rally together and drive out an owl or other predators.
This infographic explores the sounds made by 50 species, offering a glimpse into the mosaic musical communication of bird song. Be sure to check out AAAStateofPlay.com to play around with the interactive version!
infographic by: www.aaastateofplay.com