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The Vocal Repertoire of the Red Junglefowl: A Spectrographic Classification and the Code of Communication
Nicholas E. Collias
Vol. 89, No. 3 (Aug., 1987), pp. 510-524
Published by: Cooper Ornithological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1368641
Page Count: 15
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This report attempts to describe objectively the complete vocal repertoire and the vocal code of the Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), most probable wild ancestor of the domestic fowl. An unconfined color-banded flock was watched over a period of 6 years at the San Diego Zoo. The general behavior and vocalizations are essentially the same in Red Junglefowl and the domestic fowl. Different vocal signals can be recognized by their sonograms and by the common element in the various situations in which a signal is given. Twenty-four vocal signals are described but because of intergradation between some signals and between different situations no absolute size of vocal repertoire can be fixed. A spectrographic (structural) key to the vocal signals of the Red Junglefowl is given and with the sonograms should enable one to identify the typical calls. Different elements can be combined to produce specific vocal signals, in effect a code. Brief, soft repetitive notes of low frequency are attraction calls. Loud harsh sounds with high frequencies are alarm cries. Harsh sounds emphasizing low frequencies are threat sounds. These rules hold for many other birds. Junglefowl also have special calls that appear to indicate well-being, or mild disturbance and frustration. The evolution of the vocal signals of the Red Junglefowl is discussed in relation to Darwin's (1872) three principles of communication and to modern ethology.
The Condor © 1987 Cooper Ornithological Society