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Common Yellowthroat song varies across geographic regions and among subspecies

By Mark Hauber

Wichity witchity witchity: the song of the Common Yellowthroat carries a record of evolutionary change. A recent paper by Rachel T. Bolus is highlighted by the editor of The Auk: Ornithological Advances.
Highlighted by Mark E. Hauber, Editor-in-Chief of The Auk: Ornithological Advances

In many areas of North America, spring would not be the same without the well-known song of the Common Yellowthroat, broadcast by the male from near a wet ditch or a bog. New bioacoustic analyses by Rachel Bolus reveal that even the song of this ubiquitous warbler shows distinctive and predictable variations across geographic regions and among genetically recognized subspecies. Morphology also matters, with the pitch of the song decreasing with longer bills. This research highlights the potential for new discoveries using publicly available databases, including the Macaulay Library at Cornell University and the Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics at The Ohio State University.

Geographic variation in songs of the Common Yellowthroat by Rachel T. Bolus, The Auk: Ornithological Advances 131:175–185. Published online March 12, 2014. This is an open access article that can be viewed at:


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