Mezzo Forte

Singing loudly may help male zebra finches woo mates

04-01-2004 // Heidi Ridgley

DOES THE BOISTEROUS, loud mouth get the girl? If he's a songbird, he just might, according to recent study published in Animal Behavior.

Vassar College researchers Jeffrey Cynx and Christy Gell recorded male and female zebra finches when they were alone, when they were within earshot of one another and when they could see other finches.

The team noted that the males would try to out-tweet each other--singing at a volume 6 to 12 times greater than normal--when they could see other males and females. Gell theorizes that the males sing louder to gain the females' attention and possible admiration, and that they also do it to show other males that they reign supreme.

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