Observations of European starlings in France, Germany and Australia reveal surprising high similarities in the individual repertoires of whistled songs. The structure of the whistles enabled us to recognize a number of categories, in which some species-specific themes were found everywhere. They appear with the same general characteristics and variation ranges in all populations.
There seems therefore to be a basic species-specific repertoire common to all males who have also a number of additional individual themes which characterize each male in its colony. These individual themes show also common characteristics in the different populations. The results suggest that a mechanism has evolved which canalizes the patterns to be learned. The existence of such a universal innate species-specific repertoire has also to be related to functional aspects and to the complicated dialects found in this species.