Oscines learn their birdsongs from tutors. The authors found that a small fraction (approximately 7%) of captive male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) produce variant acoustic birdsong profiles consisting of repetitions of single song syllables at high frequencies. Juvenile offspring of nonrepeaters can selectively learn the syntactic rule or habit of repeating syllables from repeaters. Adult tutored syllable repeaters, unlike spontaneous repeaters, undergo a form of song plasticity involving progressive reduction of the mean number and variance of repeated syllables as a function of long-term exposure to nonrepeater songs without altering the number or sequence of syllables within motifs. These findings suggest that aspects of song syntax or temporal frame can be acquired independently of song syllable or spectral content, and plasticity involving restorative alteration of acquired variant temporal frames can occur after the closure of the critical period for song learning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience