Acoustic Communication in Birds, Volume 2: Song Learning and Its Consequences investigates acoustic communication in birds, with emphasis on song learning and its consequences. Some issues in the study of bird sounds are discussed, with particular reference to evolutionary considerations. The ontogeny of acoustic behavior in birds is also considered, along with sound production, neural control of song, and auditory perception. Comprised of nine chapters, this volume begins with an introduction to the nature, extent, and evolution of vocal learning in birds. Several well-documented examples in which vocal development appears to proceed independently of audition (and therefore independently of vocal learning) are presented, together with aspects of selective vocal learning; the timing of vocal learning; and selective forces that may have promoted the evolution of vocal learning in birds. Subsequent chapters explore the role of subsong and plastic song in the vocal learning process; the function and evolution of avian vocal mimicry; the ecological and social significance of duetting in birds; and microgeographic and macrogeographic variation in the acquired vocalizations of birds. The book also examines genetic population structure and vocal dialects in Zonotrichia (Emberizidae). This monograph will be of interest to ornithologists, evolutionary biologists, and zoologists, as well as to students of communication and bioacoustics.

Table of Contents




Note on Taxonomy


1 Learning and the Ontogeny of Sound Signals in Birds

I. Introduction

II. Vocal Development That Is Independent of Audition

III. World Survey of Vocal Learning in Birds

IV. What Is Actually Learned?

V. Timing of Vocal Learning

VI. Concluding Remarks


2 Subsong and Plastic Song: Their Role in the Vocal Learning Process

I. Introduction

II. Subsong of the Song Sparrow

III. Subsong and Plastic Song in the Chaffinch

IV. Song Ontogeny in the Swamp Sparrow

V. When Do the Characteristics of Crystallized Song First Appear?

VI. Learning to Sing from Memory

VII. The Role of Improvisation

VIII. The Role of Invention

IX. Conclusions on the Functional Significance of Subsong and Plastic Song


3 Avian Vocal Mimicry: Its Function and Evolution

I. Introduction

II. Some Conceptual Issues

III. A Survey of Mimics

IV. Possible Functions of Vocal Mimicry

V. The Evolution of Vocal Mimicry

VI. Conclusion


4 The Ecological and Social Significance of Duetting

I. Introduction

II. What Is a Duet?

III. What Are Duetting Species Like?

IV. Functional Significance of Duetting

V. Multiple Functions of Duets and Duet Structure

VI. Conclusions


5 Song Repertoires: Problems in Their Definition and Use

I. Introduction

II. Repertoire Size

III. Organization and Use of Song-Type Repertoires

IV. Concluding Remarks



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© 1983
Academic Press
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