Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Critical Period for Song Learning

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1650-1
  • 244 Downloads

Synonyms

Definition

A species-specific developmental time window in which juvenile songbirds are especially sensitive to auditory input and are able to readily memorize the song patterns of conspecific adults.

Introduction

Songs are an essential trait of songbirds and serve multiple communicative functions. They are used, more commonly, by males to attract and stimulate the reproductive behavior of females, to advertise territory ownership, and to mediate competition between rival males (Collins 2004). Although the process of song learning in songbirds has attracted attention and received contributions from several fields, including ethology, behavioral ecology, genetics, and neurobiology, it still stands as a major evolutionary puzzle. Song learning has drawn so much scientific interest, in part, due to its similarity to the process of language acquisition. Songbirds share with humans the very distinctive ability of vocal...

Keywords

Song Learning Juvenile Songbirds Sensorimotor Phase Song Acquisition Conspecific Song 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Baptista, L. F., & Petrinovich, L. (1986). Song development in the white-crowned sparrow: Social factors and sex differences. Animal Behaviour, 34, 1359–1371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beecher, M. D., & Brenowitz, E. A. (2005). Functional aspects of song learning in songbirds. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 20, 143–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell, D. L., & Hauber, M. E. (2009). Cross-fostering diminishes song discrimination in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Animal Cognition, 12, 481–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Catchpole, C. K., & Slater, P. J. B. (2008). Bird song: Biological themes and variations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Collins, S. (2004). Vocal fighting and flirting: The functions of birdsong. In P. R. Marler & H. Slabbekoorn (Eds.), Nature’s music: The science of birdsong (pp. 39–79). London: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dooling, R., & Searcy, M. (1980). Early perceptual selectivity in the swamp sparrow. Developmental Psychobiology, 13, 499–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Doupe, A. J., & Kuhl, P. K. (1999). Birdsong and human speech: Common themes and mechanisms. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 22, 567–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hultsch, H., & Todt, D. (2004). Learning to sing. In P. R. Marler & H. Slabbekoorn (Eds.), Nature’s music: The science of birdsong (pp. 80–107). London: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jarvis, E. D. (2004). Learned birdsong and the neurobiology of human language. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1016, 749–777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Konishi, M. (1964). Effects of deafening on song development in two species of juncos. The Condor, 66, 85–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Konishi, M. (1965). The role of auditory feedback in the control of vocalization in the white-crowned sparrow. Ethology, 22, 770–783.Google Scholar
  12. Konishi, M., & Nottebohm, F. (1969). Experimental studies in the ontogeny of avian vocalization. In R. A. Hinde (Ed.), Bird vocalization (pp. 29–48). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Lachlan, R. F., & Slater, P. J. B. (2003). Song learning by chaffinches: How accurate, and from where? Animal Behaviour, 65, 957–969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Marler, P. (1970). A comparative approach to vocal learning: Song development in white-crowned sparrows. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 71, 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Marler, P. (1976). Sensory templates in species-specific behavior. In J. Fentress (Ed.), Simpler networks and behavior (pp. 314–329). Sunderland: Sinauer Associates.Google Scholar
  16. Marler, P. (1991). The instinct to learn. In S. Carey & R. Gelman (Eds.), The epigenesis of mind: Essays on biology and cognition (The Jean Piaget Symposium series, pp. 37–66). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  17. Marler, P., & Peters, S. (1989). Species differences in auditory responsiveness in early vocal learning. In R. J. Dooling & S. H. Hulse (Eds.), The comparative psychology of audition: Perceiving complex sounds (pp. 243–273). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  18. Marler, P., & Sherman, V. (1983). Song structure without auditory feedback: Emendations of the auditory template hypothesis. Journal of Neuroscience, 3(3), 517–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nelson, D. A., & Marler, P. (1993). Innate recognition of song in white-crowned sparrows: A role in selective vocal learning? Animal Behaviour, 46, 806–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nelson, D. A., & Marler, P. (1994). Selection-based learning in bird song development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91, 10498–10501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nordby, J. C., Campbell, S. E., & Beecher, M. D. (2001). Late song learning in song sparrows. Animal Behaviour, 61, 835–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nottebohm, F., Nottebohm, M. E., & Crane, L. (1986). Developmental and seasonal changes in canary song and their relation to changes in the anatomy of song-control nuclei. Behavioral and Neural Biology, 46, 445–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Peters, S., Marler, P., & Nowicki, S. (1992). Song sparrows learn from limited exposure to song models. The Condor, 94, 1016–1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Thielcke, G. (1984). Gesangslernen beim Gartenbaumläufer (Certhia brachydactyla). Vogelwarte, 32, 282–297.Google Scholar
  25. Thorpe, W. H. (1954). The process of song-learning in the chaffinch as studied by means of the sound spectrograph. Nature, 173, 465–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thorpe, W. H. (1958). The learning of song patterns by birds, with especial reference to the song of the chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. Ibis, 100, 535–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thorpe, W. H. (1959). Talking birds and the mode of action of the vocal apparatus of birds. Journal of Zoology, 132, 441–455.Google Scholar
  28. West, M. J., & King, A. P. (1988). Female visual displays affect the development of male song in the cowbird. Nature, 334, 244–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zann, R. (1997). Vocal learning in wild and domesticated zebra finches: Signature cues for kin recognition or epiphenomena. In C. T. Snowdon & M. Hausberger (Eds.), Social influences on vocal development (pp. 85–97). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Shannon Digweed
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacEwan UniversityEdmontonCanada