Geographic variation in the song of Willow Flycatchers: Differentiation between Empidonax traillii adastus and E. t. extimus
The vocal signatures of the primary song form (“fitz-bew”) of the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) and its northern counterpart, E. t. adastus, are distinctive. Songs of the extimus subspecies are longer (total song, note, internote) and frequencies at maximum amplitude are lower than those of adastus. I used vocal evidence to clarify the distributional limits of the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and that of the geographically adjacent subspecies, E. t. adastus. Unweighted pair-group method using averaging (UPGMA) cluster analysis and canonical discriminant analysis revealed that (1) low elevation, southerly desert populations (Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Utah) have a unique vocal identity corresponding to populations in the range of E. t. extimus; (2) northerly song groups (Oregon, Colorado, and northern Utah) share a different song type corresponding to populations in the range of E. t. adastus; and (3) a departure from vocal and morphological congruence occurs for a population of high-elevation Arizona birds that, although in the currently accepted range of E. t. extimus, sings songs acoustically similar to more northern populations (E. t. adastus). Multiple regression of song distance on latitude and elevation, and a comparison of a matrix of song distances with a matrix of latitude and elevation dissimilarities, demonstrated that song populations sort out by both latitude and elevation: birds with the vocal identity of extimus occur as far north as 37°N if at low elevation, and those acoustically similar to adastus occur as far south as 33.7°N if at high elevation. The vocal background of northern New Mexico birds appears to be intermediate between that of extimus and adastus, suggesting that northern New Mexico is a zone of intermixing and intergradation between the subspecies. Pure forms of E. t. extimus apparently do not occur in Colorado because even the southernmost populations are acoustically similar to more northerly populations of adastus. A low-elevation population in western Colorado, however, stands apart from other adastus populations, suggesting moderate introgression of extimus genes into the adastus gene pool.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Geographic variation in the song of Willow Flycatchers: Differentiation between Empidonax traillii adastus and E. t. extimus|
|Series title||The Auk|
|Publisher||American Ornithological Society|
|Contributing office(s)||Fort Collins Science Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|