Quantifying song categories in Adelaide’s Warbler (Setophaga adelaidae)

  • Chinthaka D. Kaluthota
  • Orlando J. Medina
  • David M. Logue
Original Article


Many migratory wood-warblers in the genus Setophaga divide their song repertoires into two categories. Category B songs are usually sung before dawn, with immediate variety and short latencies between songs, whereas category A songs are sung exclusively after dawn, with eventual variety and longer latencies between songs. Songs in different categories may also differ with respect to their acoustic structure. We used an unsupervised clustering algorithm to identify song categories in Adelaide’s Warbler (Setophaga adelaidae), a year-round territorial species. We identified two categories of song types, the characteristics of which are similar to song categories in other migratory wood-warblers. Clusters were not well separated, suggesting that song categories may not be discrete. Song structures in the two categories were similar, but category B songs were shorter and had fewer notes than category A songs. On average, dyads of males shared more category B songs than category A songs, and were more likely to use category B songs when song type matching other males. The most important song delivery variable for separating clusters was residual average run length (residual values control for covariation with time of day), followed by percent of songs delivered before dawn, residual latency, and percent of songs used as song-type matches. We recommend a scheme based on the first three variables to classify novel song types.


Neotropical birds Singing modes Song repertoires Song types Year-round territoriality Wood warbler 


Quantifizierung von Gesangskategorien des Antillenwaldsängers ( Setophaga adelaidae )

Bei vielen ziehenden Waldsängerarten der Gattung Setophaga lassen sich deren Gesangsrepertoires in zwei Kategorien unterteilen. Gesänge der Kategorie B werden üblicherweise vor der Morgendämmerung mit unmittelbarer Abwechslung und kurzen Pausen zwischen den Gesangsstrophen vorgetragen, während Gesänge der Kategorie A ausschließlich nach Tagesanbruch, mit geringerer Abwechslung und längeren Pausen zwischen den einzelnen Strophen vorgetragen werden. Gesänge in den verschiedenen Kategorien können sich außerdem in ihrer akustischen Struktur unterscheiden. Wir verwendeten einen nichtüberwachten Clustering-Algorithmus zur Identifikation der Gesangskategorien des Antillenwaldsängers (Setophaga adelaidae), einer ganzjährig territorialen Art. Wir identifizierten zwei Kategorien von Gesangstypen, deren Charakteristika denen der Gesangskategorien anderer ziehender Waldsänger ähneln. Die Cluster waren nicht deutlich voneinander entfernt, was nahelegt, dass die Gesangskategorien unter Umständen nicht getrennt sind. Die Gesangsstrukturen waren in beiden Kategorien ähnlich, aber Gesänge der Kategorie B waren kürzer und setzten sich aus weniger Tönen zusammen als Gesänge der Kategorie A. Im Durchschnitt teilten Zweiergruppen aus Männchen mehr Gesänge der Kategorie B als der Kategorie A und benutzten mit höherer Wahrscheinlichkeit Gesänge der Kategorie B, wenn sie ihren Gesangstyp an den anderer Männchen anpassten. Die wichtigste Variable für die Auftrennung von Clustern in den Gesängen war das Residuum der durchschnittlichen Länge (Residuenwerte kontrollieren für eine Kovarianz mit der Tageszeit), gefolgt vom Anteil an Gesängen vor Tagesanbruch, Residuen der Gesangspausen, sowie der Anteil an Gesängen, die für die Gesangstypanpassung verwendet wurden. Zur Klassifikation neuer Gesangstypen empfehlen wir ein System, das auf den ersten drei Variablen beruht.



We are grateful to P. Sánchez-Jaureguí, F. L. Tarazona, J. Illanas, K. Medina, and A. Lamela for helping with data scoring. We also thank B. Parker, T. Shlakoff, C. Logue, J. Báez, R. Irizarry, and A. García who processed song recordings, and J. McClure who measured FEX. P. Linhart, D. Spector, and an anonymous referee offered valuable comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This research was funded in part by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (RGPIN-2015-06553) to D. M. L. The US Fish and Wildlife Service granted permission to work at the Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge (permit 2012-01). Protocols were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (permit 2010 09 17).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

10336_2018_1623_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (256 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 255 kb)


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behaviour and Evolution Research Group, Department of PsychologyUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.Cabo Rojo National Wildlife RefugeUS Fish and Wildlife ServiceBoquerón, Cabo RojoUSA
  3. 3.Departamento de BiologíaUniversidad de Puerto RicoMayagüezUSA

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