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Vocalizations of adult male Asian koels (Eudynamys scolopacea) in the breeding season

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posted on 2017-10-20, 17:31 authored by Abdul Aziz Khan, Irfan Zia Qureshi

Defining the vocal repertoire provides a basis for understanding the role of acoustic signals in sexual and social interactions of an animal. The Asian koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) is a migratory bird which spends its summer breeding season in the plains of Pakistan. The bird is typically wary and secretive but produces loud and distinct calls, making it easily detected when unseen. Like the other birds in the wild, presumably Asian koels use their calls for social cohesion and coordination of different behaviors. To date, the description of vocal repertoire of the male Asian koel has been lacking. Presently we analyzed and described for the first time the vocalizations of the adult male Asian koel, recorded in two consecutive breeding seasons. Using 10 call parameters, we categorized the vocalization type into six different categories on the basis of spectrogram and statistical analyses, namely the; “type 1 cooee call”, “type 2 cooee call”, “type 1 coegh call”, “type 2 coegh call”, “wurroo call” and “coe call”. These names were assigned not on the basis of functional analysis and were therefore onomatopoeic. Stepwise cross validated discriminant function analysis classified the vocalization correctly (100%) into the predicted vocal categories that we initially classified on the basis of spectrographic examination. Our findings enrich the biological knowledge about vocalizations of the adult male Asian koel and provide a foundation for future acoustic monitoring of the species, as well as for comparative studies with vocalizations of other bird species of the cuckoo family. Further studies on the vocalizations of the Asian koel are required to unravel their functions in sexual selection and individual recognition.