A Test for Responsiveness to Song Structure and Programming in Female Sparrows

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Science  21 Aug 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4510, pp. 926-928
DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4510.926


Female song sparrows, primed with implants of estradiol, gave the solicitation display for copulation in response to acoustic stimulation with song. This technique demonstrated that female song sparrows respond more strongly to conspecific song than to alien songs, that they discriminate on the basis of both overall temporal pattern and syllabic structure, that they respond more to several song types than to repetitions of one song, and that they are most responsive to several song types if the songs are organized in bouts of a single type, as they are normally delivered by a male song sparrow. These results demonstrate a substantial correspondence between the structure and programming of the singing behavior of male birds and female responsiveness to song.