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Preferences and Predispositions For Intra-syllabic Diversity in Female Canaries (Serinus Canaria)

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The aim of this study is to examine the preferences of female canaries for a particular cue in male song: the intra-syllabic diversity (number and form of notes constituting a syllable) and to test both the role of predispositions and of song experience in the development of these preferences. Two groups of females were used. The first consisted of adult females raised in acoustic isolation without song males experiences (ISO group); the second, of song experienced adult females raised with singing male in an aviary (AVI group). Female preferences for intra-syllabic diversity were evaluated using the behavioral index of copulation solicitation displays (CSD). Five different types of songs were tested: three were made up of poor intra-syllabic diversity and two were made up of great intra-syllabic diversity. The results demonstrate that, in each group (AVI and ISO), intra-syllabic diversity is preferred to intrasyllabic simplicity. In addition, the inter-group comparison showed no significant differences between the two groups. In the aviary group, song learning by sexual and sound experience did not seem to modify or influence the intra-syllabic diversity preferences. Thus, female preferences for such a diversity would result from early predispositions that are maintained in adulthood.

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