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Undirected (solitary) birdsong in female and male blue-capped cordon-bleus (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus) and its endocrine correlates.

Geberzahn N, Gahr M - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: However, in both sexes the overall plasma testosterone concentrations were low (ca. 300 pg/ml) and did not correlate with the sexually dimorphic song motor pattern.Despite such low concentrations, the increase in the rate of solitary song coincided with an increase in the level of testosterone.Our findings suggest that the occurrence of solitary song but not its motor pattern might be under the control of testosterone in female and male cordon-bleus.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Behavioural Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany. nicole.geberzahn@u-psud.fr

ABSTRACT

Background: Birdsong is a popular model system in research areas such as vocal communication, neuroethology or neuroendocrinology of behaviour. As most research has been conducted on species with male-only song production, the hormone-dependency of male song is well established. However, female singing and its mechanisms are poorly understood.

Methodology/principal findings: We characterised the song and its endocrine correlates of blue-capped cordon-bleus (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus), a species in which both sexes sing. Like other estrildids, they produce directed song during courtship and undirected (or solitary) song in isolation, i.e. when the mate is not visible or absent. We compare solitary song of blue-capped cordon-bleus to published descriptions of the song of its relative, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Solitary song of cordon-bleus shared some overall song features with that of zebra finches but differed in spectro-temporal song features, sequential stereotypy and sequential organisation. The song of cordon-bleus was dimorphic with respect to the larger size of syllable repertoires, the higher song duration and the lower variability of pitch goodness (measuring the pureness of harmonic sounds) in males. However, in both sexes the overall plasma testosterone concentrations were low (ca. 300 pg/ml) and did not correlate with the sexually dimorphic song motor pattern. Despite such low concentrations, the increase in the rate of solitary song coincided with an increase in the level of testosterone. Furthermore, the latency to start singing after the separation from the mate was related to hormone levels.

Conclusions/significance: Our findings suggest that the occurrence of solitary song but not its motor pattern might be under the control of testosterone in female and male cordon-bleus.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Different song types of one male blue-capped cordon-bleu.A few blue-capped cordon-bleus sang more than one song type each consisting of a unique sequence of syllables. Shown are images of spectral derivatives of solitary song (frequency as a function of time). (a) and (b) give three examples of song renditions for each of two song types sung by one and the same male.
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pone-0026485-g002: Different song types of one male blue-capped cordon-bleu.A few blue-capped cordon-bleus sang more than one song type each consisting of a unique sequence of syllables. Shown are images of spectral derivatives of solitary song (frequency as a function of time). (a) and (b) give three examples of song renditions for each of two song types sung by one and the same male.

Mentions: Blue-capped cordon-bleu song is initiated by introductory syllables, contains harmonic stacks and a given bird typically sings only one song type which is characterised by a unique sequence of syllables (Fig. 1, Sound file S1 and S2). However, there can be substantial intra-individual variation from rendition to rendition of a song. For instance, a part of the typical sequence can be missing in some renditions (cf. third rendition from top in Fig. 1c and first and second rendition from top in Fig. 1d) or single syllables can be repeated a different number of times (cf. Fig. 1e). Some of the subjects produced different song types (up to 4 in the current data set) each characterised by a unique sequence of syllables (Fig. 2, Table 2).


Undirected (solitary) birdsong in female and male blue-capped cordon-bleus (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus) and its endocrine correlates.

Geberzahn N, Gahr M - PLoS ONE (2011)

Different song types of one male blue-capped cordon-bleu.A few blue-capped cordon-bleus sang more than one song type each consisting of a unique sequence of syllables. Shown are images of spectral derivatives of solitary song (frequency as a function of time). (a) and (b) give three examples of song renditions for each of two song types sung by one and the same male.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198478&req=5

pone-0026485-g002: Different song types of one male blue-capped cordon-bleu.A few blue-capped cordon-bleus sang more than one song type each consisting of a unique sequence of syllables. Shown are images of spectral derivatives of solitary song (frequency as a function of time). (a) and (b) give three examples of song renditions for each of two song types sung by one and the same male.
Mentions: Blue-capped cordon-bleu song is initiated by introductory syllables, contains harmonic stacks and a given bird typically sings only one song type which is characterised by a unique sequence of syllables (Fig. 1, Sound file S1 and S2). However, there can be substantial intra-individual variation from rendition to rendition of a song. For instance, a part of the typical sequence can be missing in some renditions (cf. third rendition from top in Fig. 1c and first and second rendition from top in Fig. 1d) or single syllables can be repeated a different number of times (cf. Fig. 1e). Some of the subjects produced different song types (up to 4 in the current data set) each characterised by a unique sequence of syllables (Fig. 2, Table 2).

Bottom Line: However, in both sexes the overall plasma testosterone concentrations were low (ca. 300 pg/ml) and did not correlate with the sexually dimorphic song motor pattern.Despite such low concentrations, the increase in the rate of solitary song coincided with an increase in the level of testosterone.Our findings suggest that the occurrence of solitary song but not its motor pattern might be under the control of testosterone in female and male cordon-bleus.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Behavioural Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany. nicole.geberzahn@u-psud.fr

ABSTRACT

Background: Birdsong is a popular model system in research areas such as vocal communication, neuroethology or neuroendocrinology of behaviour. As most research has been conducted on species with male-only song production, the hormone-dependency of male song is well established. However, female singing and its mechanisms are poorly understood.

Methodology/principal findings: We characterised the song and its endocrine correlates of blue-capped cordon-bleus (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus), a species in which both sexes sing. Like other estrildids, they produce directed song during courtship and undirected (or solitary) song in isolation, i.e. when the mate is not visible or absent. We compare solitary song of blue-capped cordon-bleus to published descriptions of the song of its relative, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Solitary song of cordon-bleus shared some overall song features with that of zebra finches but differed in spectro-temporal song features, sequential stereotypy and sequential organisation. The song of cordon-bleus was dimorphic with respect to the larger size of syllable repertoires, the higher song duration and the lower variability of pitch goodness (measuring the pureness of harmonic sounds) in males. However, in both sexes the overall plasma testosterone concentrations were low (ca. 300 pg/ml) and did not correlate with the sexually dimorphic song motor pattern. Despite such low concentrations, the increase in the rate of solitary song coincided with an increase in the level of testosterone. Furthermore, the latency to start singing after the separation from the mate was related to hormone levels.

Conclusions/significance: Our findings suggest that the occurrence of solitary song but not its motor pattern might be under the control of testosterone in female and male cordon-bleus.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus