Studies of geographic variation of bird vocalizations facilitate the understanding of species' divergence and evolutionary histories, as vocal traits vary in response to different factors including the environment, morphology, culture, and inheritance. The Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is a non-passerine species of the family Picidae, and therefore its vocalizations are not acquired through learning. It is widely distributed throughout the Americas and exhibits distinctive morphological and genetic differences among the 7 allopatric subspecies, but little is known about geographic variation in the structure of its vocalizations and whether vocal variation corresponds with their genetic differences. We collected recordings throughout the species' range and assessed the frequency and temporal features of their most common calls to study geographic variation in vocalizations. Specifically, we tested whether divergence in vocal traits mirrored subspecies limits. Our results showed the formation of 2 vocal groups that do not reflect subspecies limits. The genetic divergence described in previous studies coincides with the vocal divergence found in this study, with 2 areas promoting the greatest divergence: the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Gulf of California. Previously described morphological variation in bill sizes also coincides with the vocal groups found in this study, in which large and small sizes are grouped separately.
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