Dave Gammon, professor in biology, and Christine Stracey, a biologist at Guilford College, recently published a peer-reviewed research article that documents for the first time vocal mimicry in female mockingbirds.
Mockingbirds are famous for mocking the sounds of other species, but nearly everything we know about mockingbird song comes from the songs of males. Through collecting 1,900 hours of video from mockingbird nests, Christine Stracey, a field biologist at Guilford College, recently documented that females also sing, though only on rare occasions.
Dave Gammon, a professor of biology at Elon University, listened to Stracey’s recordings and discovered that female mockingbirds also imitate the sounds of other species. Compared to males, females mimic a set of model species, but less frequently and with less variety. The function of female mimicry remains obscure.
Gammon and Stracey’s research is published in the Journal of Ornithology and can be found at https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/catalog/7809690.