The Courtship Of The Birds – Happy Valentine’s Day

I’m sure most of us have contemplated the beautiful melodies that different birds sing.  The singing of birds has been the object of contemplation and inspiration for many great minds such as Aristotle, Mozart and Debussy. But did you know that a lot of bird species use their repertoire for courtship?

This is the reason why, in songbirds, the male is typically the one who sings, and in some of the species, it has been observed that the larger their repertoire is, the more likely they are to attract a female companion to mate with. Apparently, the larger repertoire reflects higher intellect and thus makes the male more attractive to the female.

Studies also support that courtship singing by male songbirds is associated with activation of brain areas that are likely involved in processing reward signals. The most frequently studied zebra finch, for example, produces a directed song during its courtship of a female finch. 1

Have you planned giving or receiving a special serenade for this Valentine’s Day? Happy VDay!

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Further resources:

1. Social Modulation during Songbird Courtship Potentiates Midbrain Dopaminergic Neurons

Ya-Chun Huang, Neal A. Hessler

Suggested Further Reading:

Levitin, Daniel J. (2006-08-03). This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Penguin Group.

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