When Do They Learn How To Sing Birds? From Inside The Egg, Suggests Science

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It is now known that fetuses in the maternal womb can perceive the outside world, getting used to what awaits them. This phenomenon, however, does not seem limited to viviparous species. A research team found that birds learn to sing and perceive vocalizations in eggs, even before they come to light.

This phenomenon allows us to find an embryonic form of learning that allows young people in eggs to get used to the calls of their species and to respond to them, relying on the primordials of their vocal activity (which in some species even allows to reproduce the crying of

The study verified the hypothesis that among the species of songbirds, whose young do not receive… vocal teachings, there is the ability to express specific species sounds, thanks to a form of adaptation and neural imprinting before hatching.

The researchers, from 2012 to 2019, performed sound experiments, subjecting a series of eggs, of five different species, to a multitude of vocalizations, both of their own and of different species. The eggs, subjected to these sounds, belonged to several birds, including the superb blue creak, the shining swamp creak, the small terricular finch, the blue minor penguin and the quail of Japan

From experimental data, the authors found that all the birds involved manifested a form of habit to the external sound perpetrated. This seems to indicate an innate learning that would give animals the ability to distinguish between references of their species and those of strangers.

According to the authors of the research “The results of this study suggest that the ability to perceive and get used to sound, in ovo, in developing birds, can be taxonomically more widespread than previously considered and also support the idea that learning perception

The behavioural impact of this embryonic learning has not yet been acclaimed, once the chicks come to light, but, according to the authors of the study, these sounds would help prepare embryos for life outside the shell, although manifesting differences depending on the species.

Sonia Kleindorfer, a researcher at Flinders University and University of Vienna, looking forward to further research on this subject, said “It is hoped that this research will inspire further studies on the remarkable ability of animals to learn sounds.”

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