Vocal repertoire in the European badger (Meles meles): Structure, context, and function
Wong J., Stewart PD., Macdonald DW.
Vocalizations and behaviors of wild European badgers (Meles meles) were recorded using infrared video surveillance systems in Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. A quantitative acoustic analysis was undertaken, and the following acoustic parameters were measured from audio spectrograms: fundamental frequency bandwidth, duration, units per call, and inter-call interval. Sixteen discrete adult and cub sounds are described that form the basis of the European badger's vocal repertoire. Eight of these basic vocal categories are exhibited by adults and cubs. Churrs, purrs, and keckers are restricted to adults, and chirps, clucks, coos, squeaks, and wails are confined to the cub's repertoire. The majority of call types are low- to moderate-pitched and noisy. The sound system of the badger exhibits further complexity by way of gradations and transitions and is therefore best described as possessing a mixed vocal repertoire. Acoustic structure of call types is correlated with call function (inferred from context). No evidence of either alarm calls to conspecifics or the putative long-range 'scream' vocalization was found. A preliminary comparison of vocal signaling within the Mustelidae may add credence to the view that the vocal repertoire could serve as a potential indicator of social complexity. An Internet site, containing digital sound files representative of the call types described in this paper can be found at http:// users.ox.ac.uk/∼wcruinfo.