Using shared songs is believed to be an integral part of neighbor communication and territory establishment strategies among many avian species with repertoires. Previous studies of two western subspecies of Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) reported a high level of song sharing among neighboring males, whereas studies of an eastern subspecies have reported a very low level. The purpose of our study was to investigate another population of the eastern subspecies to determine whether higher song-sharing levels existed within its range. Every song in the repertoire of 29 males was compared with the songs of all other males to assess the number of shared songs. For each male, we calculated the mean song-sharing level with neighbors and non-neighbors. Males shared, on average, 33% of their repertoire with neighbors, significantly more than they shared with non-neighbors (27% of their repertoire). Two first-year males learned whole song types from several individuals and preferentially learned the song types shared among those individuals. Our results suggest that the eastern and western subspecies may not differ genetically in the way they learn songs, because song-sharing levels and song learning in our population were more similar to those of the western subspecies than to those of other populations within its own subspecies. Song-sharing differences among eastern populations may be explained instead by factors acting at the level of individual populations.
Niveau Élevé de Chants Partagés chez une Population de l'Est de Melospiza melodia