A mysterious audio transmission was used by some raptors and other animals to warn them of an imminent attack by a predator, according to a new study.
Researchers have previously speculated that this would be the result of the species’ fear of the small birds, but they have not been able to pinpoint exactly how they are communicating.
Now a new analysis by scientists at the University of Exeter has identified a series of sounds, including the sound of a wing flapping and the sounds of a bird’s beak, which are heard by some of the raptors in the study.
“They were very vocal in those signals and they also had an incredibly loud sound, which was the sound the birds made to communicate with the raptor,” said lead researcher Professor Michael Gervais.
“So, they were very clear and precise in how they communicated and they were able to communicate in those specific ways.”
Professor Gervains work has previously shown that some of these sounds are related to the behaviour of a raptor called the Red-winged Warbler.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, looked at a series and combinations of sounds and data recorded by more than 60 raptors during their wintering grounds in Devon and Cornwall.
It found that the species were able and willing to use their signals to warn other raptors of an impending attack, which the researchers speculate could have been a sign that they had just seen an attack.
“What we found was that the raptur’s behaviour was much more specific and specific to the specific signals they were using,” Professor Gervans said.
“And this was confirmed by the fact that we actually found that some calls were specific to specific signals.”
The study is the first to analyse signals recorded by a group of raptors, and it is the latest in a series to investigate the communication abilities of raptor species.
“The thing we found really interesting was that, for the birds, the signal is not just a sound, it is a whole suite of sounds,” Professor David Pappas from the University’s School of Veterinary and Animal Science said.”[It] was like a complete library of sounds.”
You can get a very, very detailed understanding of what a bird is doing in the environment and the species that they are interacting with.
“The data also revealed that the sounds were used by several species of birds.”
It was the same thing we were finding with humans.
There are a number of species in the wild that have a unique, very distinctive and very distinctive way of communicating,” Professor Pappis said.
This is a really important thing for us to understand, and I think this is really exciting.”
He said it was likely the rapture’s ability to use sound to communicate was because it was in the same family as the bird species that makes up the bird family tree, the Phasian.
“I think we are in the middle of a new paradigm where we are really going to see what is a more advanced form of communication,” Professor Michael said.
Professor Gavins research has also looked at the ability of raptorials to communicate using the sounds they make to tell others in the group.
“There are a lot of birds that make sounds and they make them very precise and very specific and they use them to communicate,” Professor Peter said.
The raptors used in the new study have been tracked since they were first spotted in the autumn of 2013 and are believed to be the largest of their kind.
The researchers hope to use the data to help scientists better understand the behaviour and ecology of rapturs and their behaviour as well as their relationship with humans, including whether the animals are more likely to attack humans.
“This study shows that the ability to communicate and the ability for them to do this in a very specific way and for a specific location is something that we really need to investigate more,” Professor James said.