Neuroscience

Genetic defect keeps verbal cues from hitting the mark

A genetic defect that profoundly affects speech in humans also disrupts the ability of songbirds to sing effective courtship tunes. This defect in a gene called FoxP2 renders the brain circuitry insensitive to feel-good chemicals ...

Neuroscience

What songbirds can teach us about the brain

(PhysOrg.com) -- Professor Sarah Woolley does research on males who mate for life and help out around the home. If you asked where these creatures can be found, she might direct your attention outdoors.

Neuroscience

Scientists image brain at point when vocal learning begins

Duke University Medical Center scientists crowded around a laser-powered microscope in a darkened room to peer into the brain of an anesthetized juvenile songbird right after he heard an adult tutors' song for the first ...

Songbird

Many, see text

A songbird is a bird belonging to the order of Passeriformes (ca. 4000 species), in which the vocal organ is developed in such a way as to produce various sound notes, commonly known as bird song. There is evidence to suggest that songbirds evolved about 50 million years ago in the western part of Gondwana that later became Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Antarctica, before spreading around the world.

This 'bird song' is essentially territorial in that it communicates the identity and whereabouts of an individual to other birds and also signals sexual intentions. It is not to be confused with bird calls, which are used for alarms and contact, and are especially important in birds that feed or migrate in flocks.

Other birds have songs to attract mates or hold territory, but these are usually simple and repetitive, lacking the variety of many passerine songs. The monotonous repetition of the Common Cuckoo or Little Crake can be contrasted with the variety of a Nightingale or Marsh Warbler.

Although many songbirds have songs which are pleasant to the human ear, this is not invariably the case. Many members of the crow family make croaks or screeches which sound harsh to humans.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA