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ESR 47:61-73 (2022)  -  DOI:

Individuality in houbara chick calls and its dynamics throughout ontogeny

C. Cornec1,2,*, Y. Hingrat3, V. Planas-Bielsa4, H. Abi Hussein3, F. Rybak1

1Institut des Neurosciences Paris-Saclay, Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS (UMR 9197), 91400 Saclay, France
2Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation, PO Box 47, 33250 Missour, Morocco
3Reneco International Wildlife Consultants LLC, PO Box 61741, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
4Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Département de Biologie Polaire, 8 Quai Antoine 1er, 98000 Monaco, Principality of Monaco
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In many taxa, breeding success depends heavily on reliable vocal recognition between parents and offspring. Although the acoustic basis of this recognition has been explored in several species, few studies have examined the evolution of acoustic cues to identity across development. Here, in a captive breeding program, we investigated for the first time the acoustic signals produced by North African houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata undulata chicks. Two call types (contact and distress) were recorded from 15 chicks in 4 age classes. Acoustic analyses showed that the acoustic parameters of the calls varied systematically with age in both contact and distress calls. However, both call types remained highly stereotyped and individualized between chicks at every tested age, indicating that calls encode reliable information about individual identity throughout development, thus potentially enabling the mother to distinguish her own chicks through their development up to fledging. Playback experiments are now needed to verify such parent-chick recognition in houbara bustards and its efficiency across chick ontogeny.

KEY WORDS: Acoustic communication · Individual recognition · Houbara bustard · Contact call · Distress call

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Cite this article as: Cornec C, Hingrat Y, Planas-Bielsa V, Abi Hussein H, Rybak F (2022) Individuality in houbara chick calls and its dynamics throughout ontogeny. Endang Species Res 47:61-73.

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