Birdsong ability laid in genes, said the ornithologists from Uppsala University in their recent report published in Nature Ecology & Evolution journal.
The genes appear to play a decisive role in the distinctive songs of birds, says Professor Trond Amundsen at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Until now, the ornithologists are uncertain as to how birds maintain their species songs, but genes need to be the only factors involved, believes Amundsen.
“It is never that way. Genes and the environment raised in always play roles,”
Birdsong theories and experiments
The Swedish researchers’ report shows that rather than social learning it must be their genes that make songbirds call in a particular way. Three experiments at Uppsala University ran with flycatchers were rather interesting.
- They found that 10-day-old flycatchers begged more for food if they heard the song of their own species. As fledglings they could hear the difference.
- The young flycatchers were found to react to their own species’ song even though they had been raised by another species of bird.
- The researchers studied hybrids between pied and collared flycatchers. They found that these fledglings always preferred the pied flycatcher song even though the mother in the nest was a collared flycatcher.
All in all, the researchers at Uppsala conclude that these experiments clearly point in the direction of birdsong discrimination having a largely genetic component.