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Advertising displays of male Musk Ducks indicate population subdivision across the Nullarbor Plain of Australia

Wildfowl

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Abstract

Acoustic advertising displays (n=75) of male Musk Ducks Biziura lobata were analysed at ten widely spaced geographic localities in South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia. Vocalisations differed in a fixed, non-overlapping pattern between allopatric Musk Duck populations in southeastern and southwestern Australia. These findings suggest that Musk Duck populations are subdivided by the Nullarbor Plain, the arid treeless desert at the head of the Great Australian Bight. Three vocalisations performed by male Musk Ducks not previously reported in the literature were documented also. Vocalisations of captive Musk Ducks collected from different geographic regions (southeast and southwest) differed between regions from which captives originally were collected and were unlike those performed by wild birds. Based on calls of immature Musk Ducks, acoustic variation within regional populations and the apparent inability of captive Musk Ducks reared in isolation to develop the wild type adult call, regional dialects seemingly are acquired in a social context by repeated observance of adult males and some combination of social imprinting, learning, or practice.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Advertising displays of male Musk Ducks indicate population subdivision across the Nullarbor Plain of Australia
Series title:
Wildfowl
Volume
53
Year Published:
2002
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Wildfowl
First page:
137
Last page:
154
Number of Pages:
18