Song, sexual selection, and a song control nucleus (HVc) in the brains of European sedge warblers

David C Airey, Katherine L Buchanan, Tamas Szekely, Clive K Catchpole, Timothy J DeVoogd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (SciVal)


Female sedge warblers select males that have more complex songs as mates. This study tests two predictions concerning HVc, a telencephalic nucleus that is essential for song learning and production: first, that males with more complex songs will have a larger HVc, and second that males who pair successfully will have a larger HVc than unpaired males. Data on song composition and pairing status were collected from wild sedge warblers breeding in Hungary. We found significant positive correlations between three song attributes (repertoire size, song complexity, and song length) and the size of HVc. Males that paired successfully also had more complex songs (repertoire size and song complexity, though not song length) than males that did not. However, we find no direct evidence that males who paired successfully had a larger HVc than unpaired males. These findings are discussed in relation to the possible functions of HVc and also to current views on sexual selection and the evolution of the song control pathway.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000


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