Avian Cognition and Social Interaction
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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In this article we provide a case history of the development of a communicative system in songbirds. In particular, we explore how brown-headed cowbirds, male and female, cooperate in the development and use of species-typical song. The goal is to show how social interactions between and within sexes create a platform for the production and perception of song. We consider six perspectives. First, we discuss the nature of the acoustic signal. Second, we look at the process of song learning. Third, we describe a specific song mechanism, social shaping. Fourth, we look at the more general developmental process of neophenogenesis. Fifth, we consider the developmental ecology for social learning. Finally, we describe how social networks measures can be used to capture the nature of social interactions as the engines of song learning. Taken as a whole, we argue that culturally transmitted behaviors structure social interactions that predict the acquisition of species' typical behaviors necessary for successful reproduction.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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