Campbell, K.A., Hahn, A.H., Congdon, J.V, & Sturdy, C.B.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Volume 140, Issue 3, Pages 1598-1608
Publication year: 2016


Sex differences have been identified in a number of black-capped chickadee vocalizations and in the chick-a-dee calls of other chickadee species [i.e., Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis)]. In the current study, 12 acoustic features in black-capped chickadee chick-a-dee calls were investigated, including both frequency and duration measurements. Using permuted discriminant function analyses, these features were examined to determine if any features could be used to identify the sex of the caller. Only one note type (A notes) classified male and female calls at levels approaching significance. In particular, a permuted discriminant function analysis revealed that the start frequency of A notes best allowed for categorization between the sexes compared to any other acoustic parameter. This finding is consistent with previous research on Carolina chickadee chick-a-dee calls that found that the starting frequency differed between male- and female-produced A notes [Freeberg, Lucas, and Clucas (2003). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 113, 2127–2136]. Taken together, these results and the results of studies with other chickadee species suggest that sex differences likely exist in the chick-a-dee call, specifically acoustic features in A notes, but that more complex features than those addressed here may be associated with the sex of the caller.

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