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Birdsong requires complex learned motor skills involving the coordination of respiratory, vocal organ and craniomandibular muscle groups. Recent studies have added to our understanding of how these vocal subsystems function and interact during song production. The respiratory rhythm determines the temporal pattern of song. Sound is produced during(More)
Precisely timed behaviors are central to the survival of almost all organisms. Song is an example of a learned behavior under exquisite temporal control. Song tempo in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) is systematically modified depending on social context. When male zebra finches sing to females (directed), it is produced with a faster motor pattern(More)
1. The contribution of syringeal muscles to controlling the phonology of song was studied by recording bilateral airflow, subsyringeal air sac pressure, electromyograms (EMGs) of six syringeal muscles, and vocal output in spontaneously singing brown thrashers (Toxostoma rufum). 2. EMG activity in musculus syringealis ventralis (vS), the largest syringeal(More)
1. The role of syringeal muscles in song production, particularly in regulating airflow through the syrinx, was studied in singing brown thrashers (Toxostoma rufum). In nine individuals, muscle activity was recorded electromyographically together with bilateral syringeal airflow, subsyringeal air sac pressure, and vocal output. 2. Dorsal muscles, m.(More)
The metabolic cost of birdsong production has not been studied in detail but is of importance in our understanding of how selective pressures shape song behavior. We measured rates of oxygen consumption during song in three songbird species, zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), Waterslager canaries (Serinus canaria) and European starlings (Sturnus(More)
Our current understanding of the sound-generating mechanism in the songbird vocal organ, the syrinx, is based on indirect evidence and theoretical treatments. The classical avian model of sound production postulates that the medial tympaniform membranes (MTM) are the principal sound generators. We tested the role of the MTM in sound generation and studied(More)
Juvenile male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) learn a stereotyped song by imitating sounds from adult male tutors. Their song is composed of a series of syllables, which are separated by silent periods. How acoustic units of song are translated into respiratory and syringeal motor gestures during the song learning process is not well understood. To(More)
The in situ biomechanics of the vocal organ, the syrinx, was studied in anesthetized pigeons using fiberoptic instruments. The role of syringeal muscles was determined by electrical stimulation, and phonation was induced by injecting gas into the subsyringeal air sacs. This study presents the first direct observations of the biomechanical processes that(More)
The physical mechanisms of sound generation in the vocal organ, the syrinx, of songbirds have been investigated mostly with indirect methods. Recent direct endoscopic observation identified vibrations of the labia as the principal sound source. This model suggests sound generation in a pulse-tone mechanism similar to human phonation with the labia forming a(More)
Birdsong is a model system for learned vocal behavior with remarkable parallels to human vocal development and sound production mechanisms. Upper vocal tract filtering plays an important role in human speech, and its importance has recently also been recognized in birdsong. However, the mechanisms of how the avian sound source might contribute to spectral(More)