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29 December 2021 Vocal coordination of provisioning in Black Phoebes (Sayornis nigricans)
Elise Ferree, Ravi Sadhu, Kennedy Holland, Olivia Wu
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Parent birds often vocalize near the nest to communicate with each other and their young. We observed a call made by Black Phoebes (Sayornis nigricans) as they approach the nest to feed their young that has not previously been studied in this context. The Wee call is more complex than the simple call that males and females commonly make near the nest. We hypothesized that one parent makes the call when arriving at the nest with food to signal to a brooding parent to depart from the nest. Over 3 years, we collected observational data at phoebe nests by observing them once during the incubation stage and then early and late in the nestling stage. As we predicted, phoebes did not make the Wee call during the incubation stage. When individuals approached the nest with food and made the Wee call during the nestling stage, the brooding parent normally responded by leaving the nest. Additionally, the brooding bird was likely to return to the nest if the other parent made the Wee call upon departing. While vocalizations near the nest can attract predators, in phoebes these calls appear to coordinate parental care efforts.

Elise Ferree, Ravi Sadhu, Kennedy Holland, and Olivia Wu "Vocal coordination of provisioning in Black Phoebes (Sayornis nigricans)," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 133(2), 318-325, (29 December 2021).
Received: 14 July 2020; Accepted: 22 July 2021; Published: 29 December 2021
Parental care
provisioning calls
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