The use and function of the ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) non-vocal drumming display across the breeding season

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O'Neil, Nicholas Patrick Paul
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Neuroscience
The use of sonations in avian courtship displays is described for many species, however, the function and variation with these non-vocal acoustic displays has rarely been investigated. Perhaps the only well studied sonation used by a bird is the wing snap display of the golden-collared manakin. My thesis focuses on the use and function of a non-vocal drumming display used by male ruffed grouse during the breeding season. This thesis presents data that the non-vocal drumming display of the ruffed grouse is used in similar fashion to bird song and calls. That is, drumming peaks in activity during the morning hours much like a dawn chorus. Additionally drumming appears to function in part like a contact call, attracting potential mates and marking a male’s location within the environment. This is to the best of my knowledge, the first report of a daily change in a display performance reported for sonations.
ruffed grouse , drumming display , non-vocal acoustic signal , behaviour