Neural mechanisms underlying vocal communication of crows

Abstract Songbirds use a specialized neural circuit for singing of learned sounds, the song system. The neural mechanisms of song production and learning are a model for human speech learning. In order to study neurophysiological correlates of singing, we invented a radiotransmitter that allows the monitoring of the brain and auditory activities in freely behaving small animals.
Here we plan to adapt this technique to carrion crows (Corvus corone), a songbird species, for two reasons: 1. Crows have  large song systems that allow the simultaneous recordings of two song control regions and 2. Crows have a large repertoire of individually learned communication calls. In relation, crows either live in social groups or as territorial pairs. Thus, the aim is to study the dynamics of neural activity during of vocal communication in a natural setting of crows.

Keywords vocal communication, birds, neural mechanisms

Main advisor Manfred Gahr, MPIO Seewiesen

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