The structure and connectivity of the forebrain nucleus HVc, a site of sensorimotor integration in the song control system of oscine birds, were investigated in adult zebra finches. HVc in males comprises three cytoarchitectonic subdivisions: the commonly recognized central region with large and medium‐sized darkly staining cells, a ventral caudomedial region with densely packed small and medium‐sized cells, and a dorsolateral region with oblong cells and rows of cells. All three subdivisions project to area X and the robust nucleus of the archistriatum, with more complexity in the classes and distribution of cells than previously reported. In females, HVc is very small and has a cytoarchitecture distinct from that of the three male subdivisions. The structure of HVc in females treated with estradiol at 15 days of age is similar to male HVc. Tracer studies in males with fluorescent and biotinylated dextrans demonstrate non‐topographic projections onto HVc that may carry auditory information, including type 1 and type 2 neurons in subdivisions L1 and L3 of the field L complex, a class of neurons in nucleus interface, nucleus uvaeformis, the caudal neostriatum ventral to HVc, and intrinsic HVc connections. These data are interpreted in terms of HVc's functional properties. Additionally, the neostriatum immediately ventral to HVc receives projections from field L, ventral hyperstriatum, and caudal neostriatum, and projects to a region surrounding RA and near to or into area X. The similarity of the connectivity of HVc and adjacent neostriatum suggests the possibility that they share a common origin. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- distributed auditory pathways
- dorsal ventricular ridge
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