Integrating Form and Function in the Songbird Auditory Forebrain

  • Sarah C. WoolleyEmail author
  • Sarah M. N. Woolley
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 71)


Vocal communication is critical for reproduction and survival across a wide range of species. For vocal communication systems to function, receivers must perform a range of auditory tasks to decode and process acoustic signals. In songbirds, learned vocal signals (songs) can be used by receivers to gain information about the species, sex, identity, and even motivation of the singer. Moreover, young songbirds must hear and memorize songs during development to use them as templates for song learning. This chapter reviews research on the structure and function of the songbird auditory system. In particular, the relationships between the organization, connections, and information-coding properties of the auditory pallium are described and how the functions of those circuits allow birds to perform a range of auditory tasks is considered, including individual recognition, tutor song learning, auditory memory, and mate choice processes.


Auditory cortex Birdsong perception CMM Field L Learning Memory NCM Song preference Territoriality 


Compliance with Ethics Requirements

Sarah C. Woolley declares that she has no conflict of interest. Sarah M. N. Woolley declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Centre for Research in Brain, Language, and MusicMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Zuckerman Institute and Department of PsychologyColumbia University, Jerome L. Greene Science CenterNew YorkUSA

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