Much study has been conducted regarding male songbirds, the researchers note, but little research has been done to better understand singing in female birds. Traditionally, the thinking has been that males sing to attract the females; thus females have little to no reason to sing. But, as the group also note, a prior study by an international team of researchers back in 2013 showed that approximately 71 percent of female songbirds sing—they just don't do it in the same ways or for the same reasons. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about why female superb fairy wrens sing and when, and if it causes problems for them, such as attracting predators. They set up monitoring stations near 72 nesting sites in the wilds of Australia, home to the birds, and recorded their activities over a two-year period. In studying the behaviour of both the males and females, the researchers found that the females generally only sang in response to singing from their mate—the birds are monogamous. Males announced their presence when returning to the nest from foraging, the females replied with the same song, though it was muted. The back and forth sing-song between mated pairs was more prominent, the researchers noted, during nest building. To find out if the female returning the call put her eggs or chicks at risk, the team set up some artificial nests with quail eggs in them and played female songs from them, varying the number of calls per hour. Predators ate the eggs 40 percent of the time when the song rate was set at 20 songs per hour, but only did so 20 percent of the time when it was set at 6 calls per hour, showing that such calling did indeed put the offspring at risk. These findings, the researchers propose, suggest that it might be possible that evolution, rather than selecting for male songbird singing, has actually been selecting against female singing.
With little research being done to understand singing among female birds, a recent study shows that these female birds only sang in a response to singing from their mate especially during nest building, but this action can actually put their offspring at risk, which is the reason why nature selects against female singing. (53 words)