ML 64665


Pheasant Cuckoo -- Dromococcyx phasianellus More
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Human Imitiation




Response to playback: Normal song.  

Great Antshrike -- Taraba major

Paul A Schwartz
13 Jun 1973 at 00:00

  • Venezuela
  • Rio Querecual; along road from Boca de Tigre to Santa Ines
  • 9.7   -64.45
  • 75 meters
  • Mono
    Sampling Rate
    Bit Depth
  • Sennheiser MKH 405
  • Parabola 91.4cm (36in)
    Equipment Note

NOTES: Neotropical Institute Cut # 9. Bulk reel: 237. 203 tape.. Note re: Cut 9): Bird sang naturally ~ 5:40 AM; may have sung earlier, too, while I was still abed. Sang for quite a while but used only the typical phrase. I wasnÕt prepared to record at that time but soon set up and I then tried whistling the typical song. The bird responded at first, using only typical phrase, but thereafter would not. Then I tried the possible female song phrase (or more likely the "third part" phrase of end of male song when fully developed) and the bird responded immediately with typical phrase, but only a few. I thereafter tried this several times with similar results; the male responded with only one phrase.
After part b), with bird in sight, I tried whistling both the typical and the presumed as female-like song. Bird sang but did not extend the alulas; at most, if at all, it moved them very slightly forward from the normal position.
Throughout the morning the bird sang periodically; short sessions of typical phrases, although in one case it tended to progress a little beyond that into the "second part" of the song.
Notes of 14/VI/73 Ð Bird first sang ~ 5:20 AM in +/- same place as @ dawn yesterday. It sang again @ 8:25 AM (cloudy fair), so I went there and after the bird stopped I whistled the typical song, which brought no response; I then tried the possible "female song" and this brought an immediate reaction.
Various trials at different times after this brought variable results. Mainly, to my whistled imitations, bird reacted only to "female song," and not always to that. However, it was apparently interested even if it didnÕt fly around or respond vocally, for on one occasion I took a couple steps forward with the intention of going deeper into the thicket and the cuckoo flew up from the ground only a few feet away. To playback of recording, the bird reacted fitfully, as to my whistles, but did react to playback of typical song.
a) ~ 6:00 AM. Cloudy. A song session, almost complete; only typical phrases. Quality: 1. Level: 0. 3.75 ips. LN. 203 tape.(At ~ 6:30 there occurred another similar session; not saved due to noise interference.)
b) ~ 7:00 AM. Cloudy. Anolther song session, all "typical"(first few phrases lacking). I discovered at the end of this that the bird had been singing from the ground, or very close to it. Taraba major prominently heard.
c) 12:50 PM. Cloudy. Natural song (i.e. there had [sic] no more playback or whistled imitation since ~ 8:00 AM.) All typical phrases. Before I could focus and get recording, the bird had sung about as many phrases as are in the recording. Quality: 1. Level: +3.
d) After playback. The first session was cut short by traffic. Mainly heard here is the second song session after more playback. There is a tendency for the song to progress beyond the typical phrases. Quality: 1. Level: +3.
Then, the next song session, no further playback. Again, thereÕs a tendency for song to develop. Quality: 1. Level: +3.
~ 1:20 PM. The next session (@7.5 ips), complete except for very first phrase (I am focused awaiting. Bird was sitting.) This is all typical song. Quality: 1. Level: +3. Low noise.
e)1:30 PM. A song session after playback of the previous two song sessions. This session is essentially fully developed and essentially complete. Quality: 1. Level: -3. Low noise. 203 tape. 7.5 ips.
Note re: Cut 9e): With the bird still sitting on the perch from which it sang part d), I played back the second two sessions of part d). The bird flew across the road and before I'd finished playing, it flew back again to a perch near the previous one and ~ 2 m. above the ground, in full view, although mostly facing the other way. It then began the session of part e. This is the first time today the bird has flown back and forth in reaction to playback and also the first time it developed the full song. It did not use the alulas.
After bird became quiet I tried whistling the songs of both male and female D. pavoninus. Although the bird looked around at the beginning of each song type, it showed no real interest nor any reaction.
After this I waited ~ 1/2 hour, then tried playback, using everything recorded, but was unable to get any reaction from the bird (~ 2:30 PM).
Field Note:
PM of 23/VI/73: I heard the presumed female song (in apparent duet with male).
AM of 24/VI/73: I heard the presumed female song; this song is slightly different from the terminal phrases of a fully developed male song, being more drawn out (as noted before) and probably @ a slightly higher pitch, although I didn't note this in the field.

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