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Variation in song structure of House Wrens living in urban and rural areas in a Caribbean Small Island Developing State

Marie-Ève Cyr, Kimberley Wetten, Miyako H. Warrington & Nicola Koper (In press). Variation in song structure of House Wrens living in urban and rural areas in a Caribbean Small Island Developing State. Bioacoustics, In press

 

Abstract: 

Most research on how birds adapt to urban environments has been conducted in cities in developed (Global North) countries, which differ structurally and acoustically from cities in developing (Global South) countries; therefore, optimal behavioural strategies of animals living in urban landscapes may also differ based on the economic status of the country in which they live. We studied Grenada’s house wren population (Troglodytes aedon grenadensis) to investigate song plasticity of this subspecies in response to urbanisation. Grenada, a Small Island Developing State in the Caribbean, is under increasing pressure from tourism, urbanisation, and climate change, and little is known about its avian community. We recorded 33 Grenada house wrens at five urban and five rural sites across Grenada, and analysed effects of urbanisation using generalised estimating equations. Grenada house wrens used a mix of strategies to compensate for urbanisation. In urban habitats, house wrens sang shorter introductions, faster trills, and increased the low frequencies of the introduction and the whole song. Grenada’s house wrens use some unusual song alterations in urban environments, emphasising the importance of studying animal behaviour in Small Island Developing States to help us understand the unique anthropogenic pressures faced by species in these vulnerable regions.

Keywords: 

Anthropogenic noise, frequency shift, Global North, Global South, song structure, trill rate

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