Urban songbirds of several species more vigorously defend their territories in response to conspecific song playback than do their rural counterparts, but the hormonal basis of this behavioral difference is unclear. It is well established in vertebrates that both testosterone and corticosterone affect the intensity of territoriality. Previous studies have found no evidence that initial (i.e., immediately following territorial challenge, but prior to restraint) plasma testosterone accounts for the elevated territorial aggression of urban birds. Determining if testosterone still contributes to urban-rural differences in territoriality requires also assessing males' abilities to transiently increase plasma testosterone (in response to an injection of gonadotropin-releasing hormone). We tested whether these hormones are correlated with the territorial response to conspecific song playback in urban and rural male Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) in Montgomery County, Virginia. We found that the elevated territorial aggression of urban sparrows was not related to variation in either initial plasma testosterone or the ability to transiently increase testosterone. In contrast, despite no overall habitat difference in initial corticosterone, levels of this hormone were positively correlated with territoriality in urban and rural sparrows. Furthermore, for a given level of corticosterone, urban sparrows were more territorially aggressive. Our findings suggest that initial corticosterone may either play a role in the regulation of persistent differences in territorial behavior between free-ranging urban and rural male Song Sparrows or be affected by the intensity of behavioral response to territorial challenge.
Hormones and Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.
Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.
It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera