Sample Linguistics Essay Paper on Frogs and Birds


Studies have shown that animals use quite a number of methods during the process of finding or rather seducing their more suitable mates in the wild. Different behavior come into play among them, including showing off, fighting and dancing as well as singing, all associated with different physical characteristics and behaviors. Generally, the mating between birds revolves two main types of sexual selection; intrasexual and intersexual, with the former involving competitive measures among members belong to the same sex, while the latter entails the freedom for a given sex to go for their mating partner. Talking about competition, scholars refer to the behavior displayed by men while choosing the act accorded to the female partners. There are quite a number of strategies displayed by different species, among them, including competition, signaling and defense, all meant to place each of them in an advantageous position over the other. On that note, this paper provides an essay on mating signals between frogs and birds, illustrating some of the features they have in common and those that differ, the anatomy and sociology behind the production of particular vocalizations.

Animal Communication

Just like human beings, the effective communication is a critical aspect in determining the social life and general well-being of all animals (Templeton, Erick and Kate 9). All aspects of mating between frogs and birds demand effective communication systems since this is the solution for attracting a mate. During communication process, animals adopt quite a number of sensory channels, with visual signals emerging to be more appropriate during the day. Previous studies have confirmed that acoustic communication is a common characteristic of animals, where the sound is adopted depending on the prevailing environmental conditions and social situations. Depending on the prevailing conditions, sounds produced by animals will have different amplitudes, the duration as well as the frequency of the structure. All this impact on the distance to be covered by sound in the environment and the ease with which the receiver will be able to localize the sender’s position.

During mating, both birds and frogs display highly extravagant communication signals which have proven to be of great relevance with respect to the sexual advertisement and attracting the mating partner. To successfully reproduce, both birds and frogs have to identify appropriate mates of their respective species and sex, and further examining indicators of mate quality. Other relevant roles of communication signals are evident during role resolution, and particularly territory defense. During the competition for mates, communication systems become the determinant factors through which one relies upon in order to emerge victorious. All these are evident between birds and frogs, though displaying differential mechanism in particular anatomical, physiological and sociological aspects.

Frogs and Birds

Signal Functions

Just like birds, frogs use sounds when passing information in quite a number of behavioral and environmental contexts. Some of the behaviors characterized with acoustic communication, both for frogs and birds include territorial behavior, looking for mates and courtship. Sound has proved to be an effective channel of communication since it serves as the best means for communicating over distance places with their mates, especially in times of poor visibility. When searching for mates, frogs are identified with fairly broadband sounds, though at times producing relatively pure tones depending on the social context.

According to previous studies, the aspect of acoustic signaling among the male frogs can be associated with extreme stereotypes. The different levels of stereotyped call arising from the unavoidable environmental and physical factors like temperature. This can further be attributed to the lack of natural selection required for maintaining some levels of vocalization. However, production of longer calls is advantageous since significantly attract more females, though the male frog has to use lots of energy during the process. Thus, males will only give long calls in when faced with stiff competition from other nearby males belonging to the same species.

Among the male frogs, just like in birds, there is a modulation of the call dominant frequency. Males will always reduce their dominant frequency whenever there are other nearby males frog signaling females of their presence. This particular type of response is meant to signal the ability of the “resident” males as well as their willingness to take part in a territorial fight. Generally, advertisement call is the most effective and highly functional type of vocalization though there comes a time when the male produces other sounds with completely different meanings.

Unlike birds, acoustic defense, either for territory, mates and aggression is a common behavior in frogs, and just like advertisement calls, particular aggressive vocalizations may be meant for specific contents. Furthermore, a male may opt for either advertisement or aggressiveness calls basing on the needs of the intermediate situation. Their female counterparts, on the other hand, make a vocal response to the males’ acoustic advertisement.

Unlike frogs, sound production in birds is categorized as either calls or songs. Talking of a call, scholars refer to a brief and simple vocalization used to signal flight or danger, always produced throughout the year. A song, on the other hand, is usually extensive and complex visualization, always produced when the birds are planning to breed or rather mating period. To some extent, this differentiates the quality of the arousal vocalization between birds and frogs.

The major extravagant communication signals produced by the male birds have lots of significance in the sexual advertisement as well as mate attraction. For a successful reproduction to take place, both the male and female birds have the mandate of ensuring that they identify a mate belonging to the same species as sex. This is further characterized by an assessment of the indicators of the best mate quality; a similar case witnessed in frogs. The males have to use attractive visual signals, and to some extent, establishing more elaborate bowers and further decorating them with bright petals. Whenever the targeted female moves close to the bower, the male is already prepared with an elaborate dance that is attractive to “her”, and in most cases the two ending up in copulation.

Males who fail to produce these kinds of attractive signals may end up not securing a mate. In most cases, the females are choosy, on the grounds of greater reproductive investments, hence the responsibility of males to come up with better signals to attract a mate. Also, communication signals are of great significance when it comes to conflict resolution and territory defense. During the completion for mates, males end up incurring high costs, hence the adoption of communication systems for the males to assess their opponents’ strengths without necessarily having to engage in combat.

Social Aspects

From a socialization point of view, scholars have argued that frogs of the same species have similar advertisement calls; serving as a mechanism for mating with the right species. As a result of this, natural selection favors the females who are in a position to differentiate the calls from other species. For individuals of a given species, spectral parameters of their call overlap too. For this reason, the ecological theory argues that during the socialization of males of a similar species, their calls may end up diverging with those who are able to make different calls benefiting more. Also, the females who are in a position to discriminate the difference benefits more.

Unlike birds, the male frogs fertilize eggs externally, with no rule of parenting. Comparing with birds, it becomes difficult for one to judge on whether the mating was successful or not. However, studies have shown that other males are successful when it comes to mating as compared to their neighbors. For instance, female frogs go for such male characteristics like the size of the calling, implying that larger males who have consumed enough food resources and have lived longer have more desirable genes. This has been confirmed by other studies that indeed, body size is a factor, both in mating and communicating acoustically.

Just like birds, chorus behavior is common among frogs, where leks and satellite systems are common. This particular system entails the males coming together to engage in competitive displays with the objective of enticing visiting females whom in this case are believed to be surveying for suitable male partners for copulation. The leks are always formed prior to or during the breeding season, featured by male displays (Muths, Rick and Jaime 19). 

When taking care of their breeding territory, male birds prefer cooperating with their neighbors other than working with newcomers. This is based on the belief that most of the newcomers, having no territories yet, tend to overthrow the older ones from their “kingdom”. These kinds of conflicts are considered to be energetically costly, hence embarking on the song of dialect which helps in identifying the regional origin.

Anatomy and Physiology

Birds’ vocalizations are quite different from frogs’ due to their extreme diversity in the acoustic arrangement as well as high levels of complexity. The biophysical principles behind the vocal production, both in birds and frogs are similar. The various actions of respiratory muscles induce air flow, all arising from the vibration of voice organs. The waves move through the air spaces within the vocal tract, and later on radiating into the external environment.

The features of the produced sound greatly rely on how the vocal source vibrates and the entire emission process from either the beak; for birds and ‘vocal sacs’ for frogs. Therefore, vocal production in both frogs and birds can be better explained, just like human speech, though consideration of the vocal source and vocal tract characteristics. However, the two structures operate as a single system, thereby possibilities of interaction between them. 

Another key aspect differentiating breeding between birds and frogs is the differential repertoire size. As an anatomical feature, birds with large repertoire have been observed to advantageous traits in males during sexual selection by the females (Templeton, Erick and Kate 23). Males with large repertoire are believed to have increased productive success by producing more offspring compared to their counterparts with the short repertoire.


Animals use a number of methods during the process of finding or rather seducing their more suitable mates in the wild. Different aspects and behaviors come into play among them, including showing off, fighting and dancing as well as singing –all associated with different physical characteristics and behaviors. Just like birds, chorus behavior is common among frogs, where leks and satellite systems are common. In this system, the males come together and engage in competitive displays with the objective of enticing visiting females who, in this case, are believed to be surveying for suitable male partners for copulation. The leks are always formed prior to or during the breeding season, featured by male displays.  

Work Cited

Muths, Erin, Rick D. Scherer, and Jaime Bosch. “Evidence for Plasticity in the Frequency of Skipped Breeding Opportunities in Common Toads.”Population Ecology, vol. 55, no. 4, 2013, pp. 535-544, ABI/INFORM Collection,, doi:

Parrish, Michael C., and Jeffrey Hepinstall-cymerman. “Associations between Multiscale Landscape Characteristics and Breeding Bird Abundance and Diversity Across Urban-Rural Gradients in Northeastern Georgia, USA.”Urban Ecosystems, vol. 15, no. 3, 2012, pp. 559-580, ABI/INFORM Collection,, doi:

Templeton, Christopher N., Erick Greene, and Kate Davis. “Allometry of alarm calls: black-capped chickadees encode information about predator size.” Science 308.5730 (2005): 1934-1937.