Article Title

Cultural Change and Geographic Variation in the Songs of the Belding's Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi)





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The Belding's Sparrow is a subspecies of the Savannah Sparrow that occurs only in isolated patches of Salicornia marsh habitat between Goleta, Cal- ifornia and El Rosario Lagoon, Baja California Norte. Song samples were obtained from 14 local populations during 1973 and 7 populations were resampled during 1987/88. Turnover in the element lexicon of each population was low. A few elements changed in their proportional occurrence rate. During the initial survey it was noted that certain song types were common among males at any one locality. After 1 5 or 1 6 years the most common (popular) types in some populations remain dominant. At other localities types have changed in popularity. Sequence com- parison analysis of elements within songs was conducted to produce an objective inter-song dissimilarity matrix. This analysis revealed that song variation within local populations is much less extensive than among populations. The features used to define the original dialects remain distinctive of the local populations.