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Biol Lett. 2007 Aug 22;3(4):368-70.

Daytime noise predicts nocturnal singing in urban robins.

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  • 1Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.


Ambient noise interferes with the propagation of acoustic signals through the environment from sender to receiver. Over the past few centuries, urbanization and the development of busy transport networks have led to dramatic increases in the levels of ambient noise with which animal acoustic communications must compete. Here we show that urban European robins Erithacus rubecula, highly territorial birds reliant on vocal communication, reduce acoustic interference by singing during the night in areas that are noisy during the day. The effect of ambient light pollution, to which nocturnal singing in urban birds is frequently attributed, is much weaker than that of daytime noise.

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