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Food transfer between adults and infants is common in many marmoset and tamarin monkeys, and is often accompanied by vocalizations. We hypothesized that vocalizations by adults in a food transfer context creates an opportunity for infants to learn not only what foods are appropriate but what vocalizations are appropriate in feeding contexts. We studied the development of feeding behavior and food-associated vocalizations in 10 infant cotton-top tamarins through the first 20 wks of life. Infants obtained solid food through transfers from older group members, primarily the adult male, beginning at weeks 5–6. Both adults and infants vocalized during food transfers with adults, producing rapid sequences of the call types adults normally give when feeding. Infants were usually successful in obtaining food primarily when the adult was vocalizing. The sooner infants were active participants in food transfers, the sooner they began to feed independently. In the early weeks, infants produced a large number of vocal types during food transfers, but with increasing age there was a steady increase in the number of adult-form food calls and a reduction in other, non-food-associated calls. Infants that fed independently at an early age produced fewer non-food-associated calls by the last month of observation. Infants called at higher rates to their most preferred food. Food transfers accompanied by vocalizations may provide an opportunity for infants to learn about appropriate foods as well as the vocalizations that accompany feeding in adults, and may represent a form of ‘coaching’ or information donation by adults.