Contributions to birdsong from the left and right sides of the intact syrinx

  title={Contributions to birdsong from the left and right sides of the intact syrinx},
  author={Roderick A. Suthers},
  • R. Suthers
  • Published 4 October 1990
  • Biology, Physics
  • Nature
THE vocal organ, the syrinx, of some songbirds has been hypothesized to contain two sound sources that can be operated independently. The syrinx of songbirds (Oscines) is a bipartite structure1,2 whose two sides are potentially capable of acting either together or independently to produce sound3–9. Sound production is lateralized in some species such that one side produces most of the song9–11. I have now directly measured the acoustic output and motor dynamics of the left and right sides of… 
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Penguins use the two–voice system to recognize each other
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Motor dynamics of song production by mimic thrushes.
In brown thrashers and grey catbirds neither side of the syrinx has a consistently dominant role in song production, but during song, the two sides operate independently, but in close cooperation with each other and with the respiratory muscles which are capable of adjusting expiratory effort to maintain a constant rate of syringeal airflow.
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Implications for lateralization of bird song from unilateral gating of bilateral motor patterns
It is reported that in brown thrashers (Toxostoma rufum) only the activity of muscles that gate sound production by regulating airflow through each side of the syrinx is lateralized, suggesting that song lateralization did not evolve as a means of achieving a single 'executive' command centre, or as a way of economizing on motor circuits to free brain space for other tasks.
Lateralization of syringeal function during song production in the canary.
It is suggested that in male canaries most syllables are normally sung by the left side alone, with some syllables being produced by the right side alone and some being sung by both sides together.
Peripheral control and lateralization of birdsong.
Different species have adopted different motor strategies that use the left and right sides of the syrinx in patterns of unilateral, bilateral, alternating, or sequential phonation to achieve the differing temporal and spectral characteristics of their songs.
Two-voice complexity from a single side of the syrinx in northern mockingbird Mimus polyglottos vocalizations
The first evidence of syringeal lateralization of nonlinear dynamics during bilaterally produced chaotic calls is presented, providing the first analysis of the contribution made by each side of the syrinx to the production of non linear phenomena.
Mechanisms of song production in the Australian magpie
Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) are notable for their vocal prowess. We investigated the syringeal and respiratory dynamics of vocalization by two 6-month-old males, whose songs had a number
Lateralization and motor stereotypy of song production in the brown-headed cowbird.
Cross-correlation analyses reveal that individual cowbirds produce each of their four to seven song types with a distinct stereotyped motor pattern--as judged by the patterns of syringeal airflow and subsyringeal pressure.


Neural lateralization of vocal control in a passerine bird. I. Song.
The mechanism of song production in the chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, is inferred from losses of song components following unilateral denervation of the syrinx, and Greenwalt and Stein's “two-voice” theory ofsong production is supported.
Bilateral syringeal coupling during phonation of a songbird
  • S. Nowicki, R. Capranica
  • Biology
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
  • 1986
The results suggest that coupling arises from a passive physical interaction between the 2 syringeal sources which is activated or regulated in some fashion by neural control from either side.
Vocal tract resonances in oscine bird sound production: evidence from birdsongs in a helium atmosphere
Not only does the songbird's vocal tract act as an acoustic filter, but its filter characteristics are actively coordinated with the output of the syrinx, suggesting that birdsong and human phonation are more analogous than previously thought.
Bilateral syringeal interaction in vocal production of an oscine bird sound.
A significant counter-example is now demonstrated in the production of a common vocalization by the black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus), in which the two acoustic sources interact in a nonlinear fashion.
Modulation in bird sounds
This paper analyzes several bird vocalizations and interprets their patterns as the product of individual and interacting oscillators and sound modifying structures; it also suggests a model for the operation of the syrinx during sound production.
Birdsong: from behavior to neuron.
  • M. Konishi
  • Psychology, Biology
    Annual review of neuroscience
  • 1985
This review shall examine critically the major current issues and ideas in this field, placing special emphasis on the topics related to the development, learning, and neural control of song.
Song Variety in the Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
The results show the birds to have a large song repertoire in excess of 1,100 song-types or 2,400 figure- types and the pattern of introduction of novel figure-types differed significantly from that predicted from a fixed repertoire model.
Syringeal Structure and Avian Phonation
All analyses of syringeal function are based on indirect evidence, which may be obtained from dissections, manipulations of extracted syrinxes, models, analyses of physiological events associated with phonation, or analyses of the sounds produced.