Researchers say warbler fight songs follow fashion while love songs stick to a few classics

A team of researchers has found that chestnut-sided warblers possess two distinct cultural traditions in song variants that evolve independently - one, used for territorial disputes that changes frequently, and another, used for romance that relies on a small unchanging sampling of classics. The findings suggest songbird culture is more complex than previously thought, the scientists say. The paper will be published in the journal The American Naturalist.

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The research team includes Bruce Byers, associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; Kara Belinsky, former doctoral student at UMass Amherst now doing postdoctoral research at Texas Tech University, and Alex Bentley of Durham University in England.

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