Skip To Main Content
Skip To Main Content

Common loons can differentiate between yodels of territorial neighbors from non-neighbors

Year: 
2010
Researcher(s): 
Mager, J., Walcott, C., and W. Piper
Institution: 
Ohio Northern University
Although previous studies have identified elements of the yodel calls of male Common Loon’s (Gavia immer) that might be important for neighbor/non-neighbor discrimination, no one to date as determined whether loons can distinguish between the yodels of neighbors and non-neighbors. Our objectives were to determine if Common Loons respond differently to playback recordings of yodels of neighbor and non-neighbors and, if so, if elements of the introductory phrase or the repeat phrases are important in such differentiation. We studied loons occupying single-lake territories in Oneida County, Wisconsin, in 2001 (N = 20 pairs) and 2007 (N = 16 pairs). Playback experiments revealed no significant difference in number of different types of vocalizations (yodels, tremolos, and wails) loons gave in response to neighbor and non-neighbor yodels. However, loons gave significantly more tremolos in response to yodels lower in peak frequency than those of resident male (P = 0.01), indicating they were more threatened by such calls. In addition, loons gave significantly more tremolos (P
Journal of Field Ornithology 81(4): 392-401