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Song learning in female-raised zebra finches: another look at the sensitive phase

Song learning in female-raised zebra finches: another look at the sensitive phase

Animal Behaviour 355: 1356-1365

ISSN/ISBN: 0003-3472

DOI: 10.1016/s0003-3472(87)80008-8

Captive male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, that were raised by females, in complete isolation from adult males, retained the ability to learn song from an adult male when this tutor was later made available to them. Despite their lack of experience of adult males, youngsters recognized the more suitable quality of adult male song, learning it even when they were sexually mature if a tutor became available. They did not use female call notes as song elements unlike those that remained isolated from adult males. The results therefore suggest that, first, young birds do not need to experience adult male song during the dependent period for song learning to occur later and, second, until sufficient suitable material has been heard the sensitive phase remains open-ended, and the young male remains capable of song learning.

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Accession: 018121664

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