Zebra finches pick singing coaches based on songs they hear as embryos

Zebra finches are shaped by songs they hear before they are born

Shutterstock/Manu M Nair

Australian zebra finches sing a rhythmic high-pitched song while incubating their eggs in a hot environment, which researchers have named a “heat call”. Experiments now show that this call influences who the soon-to-be-born chicks choose to learn their own tunes from.

In 2018, Andrew Katsis, then at Deakin University in Australia, learned that the songbird embryos inside an egg that were exposed to a repeated parental heat call would put more syllables in their song when they matured.

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