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Vocalizations of the Purple Martin

Charles R. Brown
The Condor
Vol. 86, No. 4 (Nov., 1984), pp. 433-442
DOI: 10.2307/1366823
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1366823
Page Count: 10
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Vocalizations of the Purple Martin
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Abstract

Ten types of vocalizations of Purple Martins (Progne subis) from Texas and Arizona were described and compared. Solitary-nesting martins in Arizona did not possess greater vocal repertoire sizes than martins nesting colonially in Texas, which suggests that vocal repertoires are not evolutionarily plastic and have not changed with recent shifts toward coloniality in Texas birds. Some vocalizations differed markedly in structure between these populations, documenting for the first time, geographical vocal variation in the Hirundinidae. A re-examination of subspecific affinities of Purple Martins in Arizona seems warranted on the basis of voice; birds in mountain forests have vocalizations similar to those of birds in deserts, and both differ from the eastern nominate race. Purple Martins possess a greater vocal repertoire than do more colonial swallows, probably because historically they have been largely solitary and lacked acoustical constraints on the evolution of vocal repertoires.

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