DOI: 10.1111/jav.03170 ISSN: 0908-8857

Calls of Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus contain individual signatures

Yuheng Sun, Jamie Dunning, Tony Taylor, Julia Schroeder, Sue Anne Zollinger
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Vocalisations are widely used to signal behavioural intention in animal communication, but may also carry acoustic signatures unique to the calling individual. Here, we used acoustic analysis to confirm that Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus calls carry individual signatures, and discerned which features made the calls individual. Manx shearwater are nocturnal seabirds that breed in dense colonies, where they must recognize and locate mates among thousands of conspecifics calling in the dark. There is evidence for mate vocal recognition in two shearwater species, but quantitative data on the vocalisations are lacking. We elicited vocal responses to playback of conspecific calls in Manx shearwaters, and measured spectral and temporal parameters of the calls. We then applied linear discriminant analysis with leave‐one‐out cross‐validation and could confirm the presence of individual vocal signatures. We then calculated among‐individual repeatability of 34 features describing the vocalisation to determine the extent to which these features may contribute to individual signature coding. We found that calls cluster by individual in both temporal and spectral characteristics, suggesting these traits are contributing to Manx shearwaters' unique call signatures.

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