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Song inheritance and mating in a song-bird with local dialects

McGregor, P.K., Walford, V.R. & Harper, D.G.C. (1988). Song inheritance and mating in a song-bird with local dialects. Bioacoustics, Volume 1 (2-3): 107 -129



In this paper we document the pattern of geographic variation in song of the Corn Bunting in a marked population in Sussex. Song variation is best described as a system of local dialects with three song types in each dialect. We examine the inheritance of dialects from father to son; sons sing the same dialect as their nearest neighbour, rather than inheriting the dialect of the father. Therefore songs seem to relearned after dispersal. We also compare the dialects of mates and fathers of females; our results suggest that females do not rely on dialects when pairing. These results are discussed in the context of the current controversy surrounding other species with dialects and hypotheses relating dialects to the genetic structure of populations.