King Penguins recognise their mates by voice, but Guillemots
do not need acoustic cues even thought there calls show individual variation.
To determine whether the structure of Guillemot calls could allow
individual recognition, as with King Penguin, and whether acoustic clues are
used to locate mates among a dense mass of co specifics at a colony.
Observation were made on breeding Guillemots and King
Penguins. Calls made by birds returning to their mates were recorded, the signals
digitized and the calls analysed. Calls were later played back to the mates of the
birds concerned and the effects noted on both them and their neighbours.
Both Guillemots and King Penguins emitted calls on return to
the breeding site which contained individual signatures and where therefore
potentially useful for mate recognition. In King Penguins, auditory recognition
was essential for finding a mate, whereas in Guillemots most of the arriving
birds located their mate in a dense crowd of co specifics without the help of
acoustic signals. Guillemots could differentiate neighbours from strangers
without auditory cues.
Calls are essential for the successful identification of
mates by King Penguins but not by Guillemots.
Links at this site
- Common Guillemot (Uria aalge)
- King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)
- individual recognition
- colonial breeding
- acoustic communication
- Isle of May (56°11N, 2°33W), Scotland
- Crozet Archipelago (46°50'N, 37°45'E)
- Bird Study
Links to other sites