Comparison of singing on five islands
In 2004 and 2005 five Caribbean islands were visited: Hispaniola (Dominican Republic), Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent. Rufous-throated Solitaires were recorded singing on all but St. Vincent. The following compares the singing on four islands.
The number of individual birds recorded are: Dominican Republic: 16, Dominica: 46, Martinique: 7, St. Lucia: 4. The difference in numbers recorded are due to time spent on islands and densities of the solitaires.
The numbers of song types observed per individual are: Dominican Republic: 1-4, Dominica: 1-6, Martinique: 1-3, St. Lucia: 3-5.
The average number of elements per song type observed are: Dominican Republic: 4.2, Dominica: 5.6, Martinique: 7, St. Lucia: 6.
In Dominica, where 46 solitaires were recorded, the repertoire of element types had 95 distinct types. 16% of the elements were shared between different individuals within an area, and 13% from area to area. In the Dominican Republic, where 16 solitaires were recorded, the repertoire of element types had 28 distinct types. 33% of the elements were shared between different individuals within an area, and 21% from area to area.
The percentage of element types that were flat whistles are: Dominican Republic: 42%, Dominica: 45%, Martinique: 50%, St. Lucia: 17%.
Matched countersinging and shared song types are rare but do occur.
Since I have not yet visited Jamaica, I have examined tthe Rufous-throated Solitaire songs on the CD "Bird Songs in Jamaica" by George B. Reynard and Robert L. Sutton, published by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Jamaican songs seem, on the limited evidence, to be simpler than those of other islands, an average of 2.4 elements per song versus 4.2, 5.6, 7 and 6 on the other islands, and appear to have proportianately more elements with clicks or trills.
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