Bird sond is a sexually selected signal that functions in intersexual competition and mate attraction. Suboptimal conditions during early development have been shown to impair song learning thus providing a mechanism for condition-dependency of learned signalling. Yet, to date studies almost exclusively focussed on stressors experienced during the first month (i.e. pre nutritional and social independence), using zebra finches (Taeniogygia guttata) as model organism. The critical phase for sond and song preferences learning, however, is during the second month post-hatching and after chicks forage independently and join larger social groups, begging the question how diet quality and peer group composition during this adolescent stage affect male song and female song preference development. To test these ideas adolescent birds we housed birds in peer groups of varying size and sex ratios and assigned them to either a HIGH or LOW quality diet. The results of the experiments reveal effects of both diet and social group composition on song learning and female song preferences, highlighting how the quality of the rearing environment and social factors contribute to birdsong learning. These findings shed new light on factors effecting maintenance of variation in sexually selected signals and the preferences for these signals.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 10th Meeting of the Ethological Society|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|Event||10th Meeting of the Ethological Society, Hamburg, Germany - |
Duration: 11 Feb 2015 → 14 Feb 2015
|Conference||10th Meeting of the Ethological Society, Hamburg, Germany|
|Period||11/02/15 → 14/02/15|