The evolution of duetting in African birds

Dr Gabriel Jamie

The evolution of duetting in African birds

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Birdsong has long attracted the attentions of poets and scientists alike. It’s beauty, complexity and variability generate inspiration, wonder and curiosity in equal measure. What is more, rather than singing in isolation, many birds instead coordinate their songs with one another, generating even more intricate and elaborate acoustic displays. This phenomenon, known as “duetting” (when just two individuals are involved) or “chorusing” (when more than two are), is thought to occur in about 20% of the world’s bird species. Africa is arguably the global hotspot for duetting and chorusing bird species, with certain parts of the continent having close to 40% of its species exhibiting these behaviours.

In this talk, Dr Gabriel Jamie will explore the evolution and ecology of duetting and chorusing, both in Africa and globally. Why have these behaviours evolved in some species but not others? Are they more commonly found in certain habitats or groups of birds? What can the structure of duets tell us about their possible functions? Using examples from across the African continent, Dr Jamie will address these and many other questions about this fascinating behaviour.

This webinar is being held in collaboration with Birdwatch Zambia.

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Date and Time

Thu, July 14, 2022 at 19h00 (SAST)

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