In seasonally breeding songbirds, variations in testosterone and song correlate with volume changes in brain nuclei associated with song, including the HVC. The authors tested whether singing can lead to activity-dependent increases in HVC volume by examining song output in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). The authors manipulated males' environments so that only some were dominant with nestboxes, whereas others were not. Some of these males thus sang at higher rates and had larger HVC volume than others. The study was conducted over 2 years. In 1 year, males selectively occupied nestboxes but did not sing. HVC volume did not differ in these starlings, indicating that nestbox possession alone cannot increase HVC. The findings suggest that changes in song nuclei volume can be driven by changes in singing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience