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Geographic variation in the acoustic signals of black-billed magpies (Pica pica) in South Korea and Japan

Geographic variation in the acoustic signals of black-billed magpies (Pica pica) in South Korea and Japan
Lee S.-I.Lee S.Nam H.-Y.Choe J.C.
Ewha Authors
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal of Ecology and Field Biology
1975-020XJCR Link
vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 167 - 174
SCOPUS scopus
Black-billed magpies (Pica pica) are a highly sedentary species due to their short and round wings, which are not adequate for long distance flights. We investigated geographic variation in the vocal signals of magpies residing in South Korea and Japan (subspecies sericea). Based on the magpie's limited dispersal ability, we predicted that the variation in vocal signals of black-billed magpies could be explained by geographic barriers such as mountain ranges and straits. We analyzed four-syllable chatter calls of magpies from five localities in South Korea, which are separated by mountain ranges (Seoul, Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju, and Busan), and two island localities separated from the mainland by straits (Jeju in Korea and Saga in Japan). We found significant differences in the characteristics of magpie chatter calls recorded in the seven localities, and the variation pattern was independent among the variables. Mainland-island differentiation and north-south differentiation were observed. In general, magpies on Saga were the most distinctive. North-south differentiation was observed among the Korean mainland localities. However, the pattern was not related to the presence of putative geographic barriers. We hypothesize that the patterns of geographic variation in the structure of magpie chatter calls residing in South Korea might have been shaped by a sudden expansion of magpies followed by low level of local isolation, which may have led to vocal differentiation. Along with elucidating the vocal environment of Korean magpie populations, more extensive sampling is needed to clarify the functional aspects of geographic variation in the vocal signals of Korean magpies. © The Ecological Society of Korea.
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