The Nowicki Lab at Duke University


Click on titles to download pdfs · Note that Steve Nowicki does not put his name on every paper that comes out of his lab, especially those of his graduate students. See additional papers listed on lab member pages or on the home pages of lab alumni.

Caves, E. M., P. A. Green, M. N. Zipple, S. Peters, S. Johnsen & S. Nowicki. 2018. Categorical perception of colour signals in a songbird. Nature (10.1038/s41586-018-0377-7)

Lachlan, R. F., O. Ratmann & S. Nowicki. 2018. Cultural conformity generates extremely stable traditions in bird song. Nature Communications 9: 2417 (10.1038/s41467-018-04728-1)

Sewall, K. B., R. C. Anderson, J. A. Soha, S. Peters & S. Nowicki. 2018. Early life conditions that impact song learning in male zebra finches also impact neural and behavioral responses to song in females. Dev. Neurobiol. (10.1002/dneu.22600)

Liu, I. A., J. A. Soha & S. Nowicki. 2018. Song type matching and vocal performance in territorial signalling by male swamp sparrows. Anim. Behav. 139: 117-125.

DuBois, A. L., S. Nowicki, S. Peters, K. D. Rivera-Cáceres & W. A. Searcy. 2018. Song is not a reliable signal of general cognitive ability in a songbird. Anim. Behav. 137: 205-213.

Niederhauser, J. M., A. L. DuBois, W. A. Searcy, S. Nowicki & R. C. Anderson. 2018. A test of the eavesdropping avoidance hypothesis as an explanation for the structure of low-amplitude aggressive signals in the song sparrow. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 72: article 47.

Anderson, R. A, W. A. Searcy, S. Peters, M. Hughes, A. L. DuBois & S. Nowicki. 2017. Song learning and cognitive ability are not consistently related in a songbird. Animal Cognition 20: 309-320.

Peters, S. & S. Nowicki. 2017. Overproduction and attrition: the fates of songs memorized during song learning in songbirds. Anim. Behav. 124: 255-261.

DuBois, A. L., S. Nowicki & W. A. Searcy. 2016. A test for repertoire matching in eastern song sparrows. J. Avian Biol. 47: 146-152.

Klofstad, C. A., S. Nowicki & R. C. Anderson. 2016. How voice pitch influences our choice of leaders. American Scientist 104 (Sept-Oct issue).

Soha, J. A. & S. Peters. 2015. Vocal learning in songbirds and humans: A retrospective in honor of Peter Marler. Ethology 121: 933-945.

Klofstad, C. A., R. C. Anderson & S. Nowicki. 2015. Perceptions of competence, strength, and age influence voters to select leaders with lower-pitched voices. PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0133779

Liu, I. A., J. E. Johndrow, J. Abe, S. Lupold, K. Yasukawa, D. F. Westneat & S. Nowicki. 2015. Genetic diversity does not explain variation in extra-pair paternity in multiple populations of a songbird. J. Evol. Biol. 28: 1156-1169.

Akcay, C., R. C. Anderson, S. Nowicki, M. D. Beecher & W. A. Searcy. 2015. Quiet threats: soft song as an aggressive signal in birds. Anim. Behav. 105: 267-274.

Lachlan, R. F. & S. Nowicki. 2015. Context-dependent categorical perception in a songbird. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 112: 1892-1897.

Lachlan, R. F., R. C. Anderson, S. Peters, W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2014. Typical versions of learned swamp sparrow song types are more effective signals than are less typical versions. Proc. Roy. Soc. B 281: 20140252.

Peters, S., W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2014. Developmental stress, song-learning, and cognition. Integrative and Comparative Biology 54: 555-567.

Searcy, W. A., C. Akcay, S. Nowicki & M. D. Beecher. 2014. Aggressive signaling in Song Sparrows and other songbirds. In: M. Naguib et al. (Eds.) Advances in the Study of Behavior 46: 89-125. Academic Press: Burlington.

Anderson, R. C., S. Peters & S. Nowicki. 2014. Effects of early auditory experience on the development of local song preference in female swamp sparrows. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 68: 437-447.

Nowicki, S. & W. A. Searcy. 2014. The evolution of vocal learning. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 28: 48-53.

Searcy, W. A., K. B. Sewall, J. Soha, S. Nowicki & S. Peters. 2014. Song-type sharing in a population of Song Sparrows in the eastern United States. J. Field Ornith. 85: 206-212.

Searcy, W. A., A. L. DuBois, K. Rivera-Cáceres & S. Nowicki. 2013. A test of a hierarchical signalling model in song sparrows. Anim. Behav. 86: 309-315.

Sewall, K. B., J. A. Soha, S. Peters & S. Nowicki. 2013. Potential trade-off between vocal ornamentation and spatial ability in a songbird. Biology Letters 9: 20130344.

Anderson R. C., A. L. DuBois, D. K. Piech, W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2013. Male response to an aggressive visual signal, the wing-wave display, in swamp sparrows. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 67: 593-600.

Lachlan, R. F. & S. Nowicki. 2012. How reliable is song learning accuracy as a signal of male early condition? American Naturalist 180: 751-761.

Peters, S., E. P. Derryberry & S. Nowicki. 2012. Songbirds learn songs least degraded by environmental transmission. Biology Letters 8: 736-739.

Anderson, R.C., M. Hughes, W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2012. The receiver-dependent cost of soft song – a signal of aggressive intent in songbirds. Anim. Behav. 83: 1443-1448.

Prather, J.F., S. Peters, R. Mooney & S. Nowicki. 2012. Sensory constraints on birdsong syntax: neural responses to swamp sparrow songs with accelerated trill rates. Anim. Behav. 83: 1411-1420.

Boogert, N., R. C. Anderson, S. Peters, W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2011. Song repertoire size in male song sparrows correlates with detour-reaching, but not with other cognitive measures. Anim. Behav. 81: 1209-1216.

DuBois, A., S. Nowicki & W. A. Searcy. 2011. Discrimination of vocal performance by male swamp sparrows. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 65: 717-726.

Nowicki, S. & W. A. Searcy. 2011. Are better singers smarter? Behav. Ecol. 22: 10-11.

Prather, J.F., S. Peters, S. Nowicki & R. Mooney. 2010. Persistent representation of juvenile experience in the adult songbird brain. J. Neurosci. 30: 10586-10598.

Searcy, W. A., S. Peters, S. Kipper & S. Nowicki. 2010. Female sparrows use song to assess male developmental history. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 64: 1343-1349.

DuBois, A., S. Nowicki & W. A. Searcy. 2009. Swamp sparrows modulate vocal performance in an aggressive context. Biology Letters 5: 163-165.

Prather, J. F., S. Nowicki, R. C. Anderson, S. Peters & R. A. Mooney. 2009. Neural correlates of categorical perception in learned vocal communication. Nature Neuroscience 12: 121-128.

Searcy, W. A. & S. Nowicki. 2009. Consequences of brain development for sexual signalling in songbirds. In: Dukas, R & J. Ratcliffe (eds.) Cognitive Ecology II, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 71-87.

Searcy, W. A. & S. Nowicki. 2009. Sexual selection and the evolution of animal signals. In: Larry R. Squire (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, vol. 8, pp. 769-776, Academic Press: Oxford.

Anderson, R. C., W. A. Searcy, S. Peters & S. Nowicki. 2008. Soft song in song sparrows: acoustic structure and implications for signal function. Ethology 114: 662-676.

Anderson, R. C., W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2008. Testing the function of song matching in birds: responses of eastern male song sparrows Melospiza melodia to partial song matching. Behaviour 154: 347-363.

Ballentine, B., W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2008. Reliable aggressive signalling in swamp sparrows. Anim. Behav. 75: 693-703.

Nowicki, S. 2008, 2012. Biology. Holt-McDougal (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): Austin, TX.

Prather, J. F., S. Peters, S. Nowicki & R. Mooney. 2008. Precise auditory-motor mirroring in neurons for learned vocal communication. Nature 451: 305-310.

Searcy, W. A., R. C. Anderson & S. Nowicki. 2008. Is bird song a reliable signal of aggressive intent? A reply. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 62: 1213-1216.

Searcy, W. A. & S. Nowicki. 2008. Bird song and the problem of signal reliability. Amer. Scientist 96: 114-121.

Anderson, R., S. Nowicki & W. A. Searcy. 2007. Soft song in song sparrows: response of males and females to an enigmatic signal. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 61: 1267-1274.

Hughes, M., R. C. Anderson, W. A. Searcy, L. M. Bottensek & S. Nowicki. 2007. Song type sharing and territory tenure in eastern song sparrows: implications for the evolution of song repertoires. Anim. Behav. 73: 701-710.

Searcy, W. A. & S. Nowicki. 2006. Signal interception and the use of soft song in aggressive interactions. Ethology 112: 865-872.

Searcy, W. A., R. Anderson & S. Nowicki. 2006. Bird song as a signal of aggressive intent. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. l60: 234-241.

Anderson, R. C., W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2005. Partial song matching in an eastern population of song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) . Anim. Behav. 69: 189-196.

Nowicki, S. & W. A. Searcy. 2005. Adaptive priorities in brain development: Theoretical comment on Pravosudov (2005). Behav. Neurosci. 119: 1415-1418.

Nowicki, S. & W. A. Searcy. 2005. Song and mate choice in birds: How the development of behavior helps us understand function. Auk 122: 1-14.

Searcy, W. A. & S. Nowicki. 2005. The Evolution of Animal Communication: Reliability and Deception in Signaling Systems. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.

Ballentine, B., J. Hyman & S. Nowicki. 2004. Singing performance influences female response to male bird song: an experimental test. Behav. Ecol. 15: 163-168.

Hyman, J., M. Hughes, W. A. Searcy & S. Nowicki. 2004. Individual variation in the strength of territory defense in song sparrows: correlates of age, territory tenure, and neighbor aggressiveness. Behaviour 141: 15-27.

Nowicki, S. 2004. Biology: The Science of Life. The Teaching Company: Chantilly, VA.

Nowicki, S. & W. A. Searcy. 2004. Song function and the evolution of female preferences: Why birds sing and why brains matter. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1016: 704-723.

Podos, J. & S. Nowicki. 2004. Beaks, adaptation, and vocal evolution in Darwin's finches. BioScience 54: 501-510.

Podos, J. & S. Nowicki. 2004. Performance limits on birdsong production. In: Marler, P & H. Slabbekoorn (Eds.) Nature's Music: The Science of Birdsong, pp. 318-341. Elsevier/Academic Press: New York.

Podos, J., S. Peters & S. Nowicki. 2004. Calibration of song learning targets during vocal ontogeny in swamp sparrows (Melospiza georgiana). Anim. Behav. 68: 929-940.

Searcy, W. A., S. Peters & S. Nowicki. 2004. Effects of early nutrition on growth rate and adult size in song sparrows. J. Avian Biol. 35: 269-279.

Searcy, W.A., S. Nowicki & S. Peters. 2003. Phonology and dialect discrimination in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Ethology 109: 23-35.

Nowicki, S., W. A. Searcy & S. Peters. 2002. Brain development, song learning and mate choice in birds: a review and experimental test of the "nutritional stress hypothesis." J. Comp Physiol. A 188: 1003-1014.

Nowicki, S., W. A. Searcy & S. Peters. 2002. Quality of song learning affects female response to male bird song. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 269: 1949-1954.

Nowicki, S, W.A. Searcy, T. Krueger & M. Hughes. 2002. Individual variation in response to simulated territorial challenge among territory-holding song sparrows. J. Avian Biol. 33: 253-259.

Searcy, W.A., S. Nowicki, M. Hughes & S. Peters. 2002. Geographic song discrimination in relation to dispersal distances in song sparrows. Amer. Natur. 159: 221-230.

Hoese, W.J. & S. Nowicki. 2001. Using "the organism" as a conceptual focus in an introductory biology course. Amer. Biol. Teacher 63: 176-182.

Mooney, R., W.J. Hoese & S. Nowicki. 2001. Auditory representation of the vocal repertoire in a songbird with multiple song types. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98: 12798-12783.

Nowicki, S., W. A. Searcy, M. Hughes & J. Podos. 2001. The evolution of bird song: male and female response to song innovation in swamp sparrows. Anim. Behav. 62: 1189-1195.

Hoese, W.J., J. Podos, N.C. Boetticher & S. Nowicki. 2000. Vocal tract function in birdsong production: experimental manipulation of beak movements. J. Exp. Biol. 203: 1845-1855.

Nowicki, S., D. Hasselquist, S. Bensch & S. Peters. 2000. Nestling growth and song repertoire size in great reed warblers: evidence for song learning as an indicator mechanism in mate choice. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 267: 2419-2424.

Peters, S., W.A. Searcy, M.D. Beecher & S. Nowicki. 2000. Geographic variation in the organization of song sparrow repertoires. Auk 117: 936-942.

Podos, J. & S. Nowicki. 2000. Mechanical limits and the evolution of vocalizations in birds. In: Maria Alice dos Santos Alves, et al. (Eds.) A Ornithologia no Brasil: Pesquisa Atual e Perspectivas, do Congresso Brasileiro de Ornitologia, pp. 251-271. EdUERJ: Rio de Janiero.

Searcy, W.A. & S. Nowicki. 2000. Male-male competition and female choice in the evolution of vocal signaling. In: Y. Espmark, T. Amundsen & G. Rosenqvist (Eds.) Animal Signals: Signalling and Signal Design in Animal Communication, pp. 301-315. Tapir Academic Press: Trondheim.

Searcy, W.A., S. Nowicki & C. Hogan. 2000. Song type variants and aggressive context. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 48: 358-363.

Nowicki, S., S. Peters, W.A. Searcy & C. Clayton. 1999. The development of within-song type variation in song sparrows. Anim. Behav. 57: 1257-1264.

Podos, J., S. Nowicki & S. Peters. 1999. Permissiveness in vocal syntax learning in the swamp sparrow. Anim. Behav. 58: 93-103.

Searcy, W.A. & S. Nowicki. 1999. Functions of song variation in song sparrows. In: M. Konishi & M. Hauser (eds.) The Design of Animal Communication, pp. 577-595. MIT Press: New York.

Searcy, W.A., S. Nowicki & S. Peters. 1999. Song types as fundamental units in vocal repertoires. Anim. Behav. 58: 37-44.

Nowicki, S, S. Peters & J. Podos. 1998. Song learning, early nutrition and sexual selection in songbirds. Amer. Zool. 38: 179-190.

Nowicki, S., W.A. Searcy & M. Hughes. 1998. The territory defense function of song in song sparrows: a test with the speaker occupation design. Behaviour 135: 615-628.

Hughes, M., S. Nowicki, W.A. Searcy & S. Peters. 1998. Song type sharing in song sparrows: Implications for repertoire function and song learning. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 42: 437-446.

Hughes, M., S. Nowicki & B. Lohr. 1998. Call learning in black-capped chickadees (Parus atricapillus): The role of experience in the development of "chick-a-dee" calls. Ethology 104: 232-249.

Erickson, C. J., S. Nowicki, L. Dollar & N. Goehring. 1998. Percussive foraging: Stimuli for prey location by aye-ayes (Daubentonia madagascariensis). Int. J. Primatol. 19: 111-122.

Gaunt, A.S. & S. Nowicki. 1998. Birdsong: acoustics and physiology revisited. In: Hopp, S. L. M. J. Owren & C. S. Evans (eds.), Animal Acoustic Communication. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, pp. 291-321.

Searcy, W.A., M. Hughes & S. Nowicki. 1997. The response of male and female song sparrows to geographic variation in song. Condor 99: 651-657.

Nowicki, S. 1997. Bird acoustics. In: M. J. Crocker (ed.) Encyclopedia of Acoustics. John Wiley & Sons, New York, Chapter 150, pp. 1813-1817.

Peters, S. & S. Nowicki. 1996. Development of tonal quality in birdsong: Further evidence from song sparrows. Ethology 102: 323-335.

Strote, J. & S. Nowicki. 1996. Responses to songs with altered tonal quality by adult song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Behaviour 130: 1-15.

Podos, J., J. K. Shearer, S. Peters & S. Nowicki. 1995. Ontogeny of vocal tract movements during song production in song sparrows. Anim. Behav. 50: 1287-1296.

Searcy, W.A., J. Podos, S. Peters & S. Nowicki. 1995. Discrimination of song types and variants in song sparrows. Anim. Behav. 49: 1219-1226.

Lohr, B., R. Weisman & S. Nowicki. 1994. The role of pitch cues in song recognition by Carolina chickadees (Parus carolinensis). Behaviour 130: 1-15.

Nowicki, S., J. Podos & F. Valdés. 1994. Temporal patterning of within-song type and between-song type variation in song repertoires. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 34: 329-335.

Nowicki, S. & J. Podos. 1993. Complexity, coupling and contingency in birdsong. In: Perspectives in Ethology, vol.10 (P.P.G. Bateson, P. Klopfer & N. Thompson, eds.), pp. 159-186, Plenum Press, New York.

Westneat, M.W., J.H. Long, Jr., W. Hoese & S. Nowicki. 1993. Kinematics of birdsong: Functional correlation of cranial movements and acoustic features in sparrows. J. Exp. Biol. 182: 147-171.

Jacobs, M., D.P. Nowacek, G. Cannon, S. Nowicki & R.B. Forward. 1993. Seasonal changes in vocalizations during behavior of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Estuaries 16: 241-246.

Nowicki, S., M. Westneat & W. Hoese. 1992. Birdsong: Motor function and the evolution of communication. Seminars in Neurosci. 4: 385-390.

Nowicki, S., P. Marler, A. Maynard & S. Peters. 1992. Is the tonal quality of birdsong learned? Evidence from song sparrows. Ethology 90: 225-235.

Peters, S, P. Marler & S. Nowicki. 1992. Song sparrows learn from limited exposure to song models. Condor 94: 1016-1019.

Podos, J., S. Peters, T. Rudnicky, P. Marler & S. Nowicki. 1992. The organization of song repertoires in song sparrows: Themes and variations. Ethology 90: 89-106.

Nowicki, S., M. Hughes & P. Marler. 1991. Flight songs of swamp sparrows: Alternative phonology of an alternative song category. Condor 93: 1-11.

Lohr, B., S. Nowicki & R. Weisman. 1991. Pitch production in Carolina chickadee songs. Condor 93: 197-199.

Nowicki, S. & D.A. Nelson. 1990. Defining natural categories in acoustic signals: Comparison of three methods applied to 'chick-a-dee' call notes. Ethology 86: 89-101.

Ball, G.F. & S. Nowicki. 1990. Assessment of song quality in photorefractory and photosensitive song sparrows. Anim. Behav. 40: 986-987.

Nowicki, S. & G.F. Ball. 1989. Testosterone induction of song in photosensitive and photorefractory male sparrows. Horm. and Behav. 23: 514-525.

Nowicki, S. J.C. Mitani, D.A. Nelson & P. Marler. 1989. The communicative significance of tonality in birdsong: Responses to songs produced in helium. Bioacoustics 2: 35-46.

Nowicki, S. 1989. Vocal plasticity in captive black-capped chickadees: The acoustic basis and rate of call convergence. Anim. Behav. 37: 64-73.

Nowicki, S. & P. Marler. 1988. How do birds sing? Music Perception 5: 391-426.

Nowicki, S. 1987. Vocal tract resonances in oscine bird sound production: evidence from birdsongs in a helium atmosphere. Nature 325: 53-55.

Nowicki, S. & R.R. Capranica. 1986. Bilateral syringeal coupling during phonation of a songbird. J. Neuroscience 6: 3595-3610.

Nowicki, S. & R.R. Capranica. 1986. Bilateral syringeal interaction in the vocal production of an oscine bird sound. Science 231: 1297-1299.

Nowicki, S. 1985. Spider. In: McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology (S.P. Parker, editor-in-chief), pp. 410-412, New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.

Nowicki, S. 1984. A question of identity: the call of the black-capped chickadee. Living Bird Quart. 3(1) : 30.

Nowicki, S. 1983. Flock-specific recognition of chickadee calls. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 12: 317-320.

Eisner, T. & S. Nowicki. 1983. Spider web protection through visual advertisement: The role of the "stabilimentum." Science 219: 185-187.

Nowicki, S. & T. Eisner. 1983. Predatory capture of bombardier beetles by a tabanid fly larva. Psyche 90: 119-122.

Jackman, R., S. Nowicki, D.J. Aneshansley & T. Eisner. 1983. Predatory capture of toads by fly larvae. Science 222: 515-516.

Jefson, M., J. Meinwald, S. Nowicki, K. Hicks & T. Eisner. 1983. Chemical defense of a rove beetle (Creophilus maxillosus). J. Chem. Ecol. 9: 159-180.

Jain, S.C., S. Nowicki, T. Eisner & J. Meinwald. 1982. Insect repellents for vetiver oil: Zizanal and epizizanal. Tetr. Letters 23: 4639-4642.

Mammen, D.L. & S. Nowicki. 1981. Individual differences and within-flock convergence in chickadee calls. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 9: 179-186.

Eisner, T., S. Nowicki, M. Goetz & J. Meinwald. 1980. Red cochineal dye (Carminic acid): Its role in nature. Science 208: 1038-1040.

Nowicki, S. & K.B. Armitage. 1979. Behavior of juvenile yellow-bellied marmots: Play and social integration. Z. Tierpsychol. 51: 85-105.

Nowicki Lab
Department of Biology
Box 90338, Duke University
Durham, NC  27708-0338  USA
Lab phone: 919-684-6950