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VARIATIONS IN ZEBRA FINCH SONG COPYING: AN EXAMINATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP WITH TUTOR SONG QUALITY AND PUPIL BEHAVIOUR

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In this study we explore whether individual differences in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) song copying covary with differences in tutor song characteristics and pupil behaviour. To this end, we combined data from two earlier studies, in which forty young males were tapetutored. We found no clear evidence that the eight different tutor songs, each of which was used to tutor five pupils, varied in degree in which they were copied by the pupils. Degree of song copying was not related to the characteristics of the tutor songs' phrase structure or elements, although the most frequent elements were copied most. However, we did find a relationship between song copying and the pupil's response to the tutor song: the pupils that approached the tutor song most frequently, and that were more silent after playback, also were the best copiers. These results fit the emerging notion that song learning in zebra finches may be a process in which many different aspects contribute to the eventual result.

Affiliations: 1: Behavioural Biology, Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, Leiden University, PO Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

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