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Song acquisition and control in the chaffinch frignilla coelebs the organisation of a behavioural repertoire


The serial character of bird song, which consists of long trains of single songs that are separated by silent intersong intervals, makes it a perfect subject for the study of memorization and retrieval of learned information. Furthermore, most species can be tutored by tape recorders, thus experimental manipulation of the songs is possible. This study will investigate the mechanisms underlying song type choice and the temporal patterning of songs in chaffinches. Normal songs and songs with subtle changes in the temporal organisation will be tape tutored to captive birds. Their resulting song organisation will then be compared with that of wild birds. In the second step playbacks to wild and captive birds will be conducted to examine, in which sequential positions in their performance birds are most likely to switch to another song type. Based on these results a model will be developed to explain the song control system and the organisation of memory.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


University of St Andrews

KY16 9AJ St Andrews
United Kingdom

Participants (1)

Not available