Chapter

Consequences of Brain Development for Sexual Signaling in Songbirds

Edited by William A. Searcy and Stephen Nowicki

in Cognitive Ecology II

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226169354
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226169378 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226169378.003.0005
Consequences of Brain Development for Sexual Signaling in Songbirds

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This chapter reviews the bird song learning by examining the recent nutritional stress hypothesis. It suggests that conditions during early development have long-term effects on features of the male song, which females can readily perceive, and on other aspects of male quality, which females cannot easily assess. It is therefore found that females rely on male song as a reliable indicator of overall male quality. Also, a variety of forms of stress has been shown to affect either adult song or the song system or both, including nutritional limitation, orticosterone treatment, and parasite infection. The authors observe that the one exception has been brood size manipulation, which had no effect on either song or the song system in zebra finches. Hence, further studies of the effects of early stress on adult social dominance, immunocompetence, and cognitive abilities would be particularly interesting.

Keywords: nutritional stress; male song; male quality; stress; brood size; song system

Chapter.  6752 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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