Zebra Finch : The machine behind the mouth (or beak) General facts about Zebra Finches: The common and widespread in Australia (particularly drier areas), Timor and the Lesser Sunda Islands. Live year round in social flocks of up to 100 or more birds. Feed on grass seed and insects.
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Zebra Finch Song : Unique because of its harmonic characteristics and complexity
NCM: Neostriatum Caudo-Medial nucleus
HVc:High Vocal Center (Hyperstriatum Ventralis pars caudalis)
NIf: interfacial nucleus of the neostriatum
MMAN: Medial nucleus Magnocelularis of the Anterior Neostriatum
RA: Robust nucleus of the Archistriatum
LMAN:Lateral Magnocellular nucleus of the Anterior Neostriatum
nXII:nucleus of the 12th cranial nerve
X: Area X of the paraolfactory lobe
DLM: Dorso-Lateral division of the Medial thalamus
AVT:Area Ventralis of Tsai
VL medulla:VentroLateral medulla
Uva: nucleus Uvaeformis of the thalamus
DM:Dorso-Medial subdivision of the intercollicular nucleus
Nuclei of the avian song learning and production pathways
Red (learning pathway)
Blue (production pathway) is the song output pathway
Hormones control brain structure size… controls acquisition/singing behavior
Learning and production systems also change size, complexity or protein profiles with changing hormonal levels.
There is evidence that song production and learning are hormone-dependent.
Male produced estrogen and melatonin are necessary for normal development of HVC--RA pathway.
Hormone levels mediate sexually related differences in song production nuclei
Localized neuronal activation in the zebra finch brain is related to the strength of song learning
Photomicrographs of the zebra finch brain at the level of the NCM, showing egr-1 (ZENK)-like immunostaining. The sections are from a bird in the control (a) and of a bird in the experimental group (b) that both showed a high degree of song learning. V, ventricle; Hp, hippocampus.
Counts of stained cells reveal relative differences in ZENK & c-fos between experimental and controls
Furthermore: Strength of ZENK and c-fos staining in NCM and cHV correlates to the number of song elements that the birds had copied from the tutor song
Stained nuclei per sq mm
Fraction shared song elements
Conclusion: These results show localized neural activation in response to tutor song exposure that correlates with the strength of song learning. This suggests that the memory for tutor song is stored in NCM and cHV
Conclusion: parasite load influences phenotype which in turn influences mate choice decisions. Thus, song complexity could be driven by parasite resistance.
Garamszegi et al. (2003)