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Vocal mimicry in songbirds

Kelley, Laura A., Coe, Rebecca L., Madden, Joah R. and Healy, Susan D. 2008, Vocal mimicry in songbirds, Animal behaviour, vol. 76, no. 3, pp. 521-528, doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.04.012.

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Title Vocal mimicry in songbirds
Author(s) Kelley, Laura A.
Coe, Rebecca L.
Madden, Joah R.
Healy, Susan D.
Journal name Animal behaviour
Volume number 76
Issue number 3
Start page 521
End page 528
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2008-09
ISSN 0003-3472
1095-8282
Keyword(s) call convergence
learning
song
songbird
vocalization
vocal mimicry
Summary Baylis (1982, Acoustic Communication in Birds, Academic Press) decried the serious lack of experimental verification for the various hypotheses proposed to explain vocal mimicry in songbirds. With few exceptions, our understanding of the function and acquisition of this fascinating behaviour seems to have scarcely progressed. We examine the proposed functional explanations and supporting evidence, and summarize advances made since Baylis's (1982) review. We conclude that there is no compelling evidence to support any of the functional hypotheses but, rather, that almost all of the data concerning song mimicry are consistent with the learning mistakes hypothesis, whereby birds learn simple and common sounds, frequently using them in inappropriate contexts. Additionally, many apparently mimicked sounds are calls, not songs, which themselves may not be learned by the models. It is plausible that many examples of call mimicry are, in fact, due to evolutionary convergence.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.04.012
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30035804

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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