In this study, we investigate the ability of the mammalian auditory pathway to adapt its strategy for temporal processing under natural stimulus conditions. We derive temporal receptive fields from the responses of neurons in the inferior colliculus to vocalization stimuli with and without additional ambient noise. We find that the onset of ambient noise evokes a change in receptive field dynamics that corresponds to a change from bandpass to lowpass temporal filtering. We show that these changes occur within a few hundred milliseconds of the onset of the noise and are evident across a range of overall stimulus intensities. Using a simple model, we illustrate how these changes in temporal processing exploit differences in the statistical properties of vocalizations and ambient noises to increase the information in the neural response in a manner consistent with the principles of efficient coding.