Frequency Modulation During Song in a Suboscine Does Not Require Vocal Muscles
TL;DR: This work investigates sound production and control of sound frequency in the Great Kiskadee by recording air sac pressure and vocalizations during spontaneously generated song and assumes a nonlinear restitution force for the oscillating membrane folds in a two mass model of sound production to reproduce the frequency modulations of the observed vocalizations.
Abstract: The physiology of sound production in suboscines is poorly investigated. Suboscines are thought to develop song innately unlike the closely related oscines. Comparing phonatory mechanisms might therefore provide interesting insight into the evolution of vocal learning. Here we investigate sound production and control of sound frequency in the Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulfuratus) by recording air sac pressure and vocalizations during spontaneously generated song. In all the songs and calls recorded, the modulations of the fundamental frequency are highly correlated to air sac pressure. To test whether this relationship reflects frequency control by changing respiratory activity or indicates synchronized vocal control, we denervated the syringeal muscles by bilateral resection of the tracheosyringeal nerve. After denervation, the strong correlation between fundamental frequency and air sac pressure patterns remained unchanged. A single linear regression relates sound frequency to air sac pressure in the intact and denervated birds. This surprising lack of control by syringeal muscles of frequency in Kiskadees, in strong contrast to songbirds, poses the question of how air sac pressure regulates sound frequency. To explore this question theoretically, we assume a nonlinear restitution force for the oscillating membrane folds in a two mass model of sound production. This nonlinear restitution force is essential to reproduce the frequency modulations of the observed vocalizations.
Cites background from "Frequency Modulation During Song in..."
...A strong correlation between subsyringeal pressure and vocalization frequencywas also found in a suboscine bird, the great kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus (Amador et al. 2008), providing further evidence that driving pressure and frequency are biomechanically linked....