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Abstract

Hand raised nightingales were alternatively confronted with different series of songs which permitted labeling of particular learning situations and allowed detection of specific consequences of diverse learning conditions. We found that visual contact with a tutor affected both quality and quantity of acquired patterns. Without visual contact the birds acquired only song sections consisting of repeated vocal units', which proved to be relevant for species recognition. With visual contact the birds learnt every presented song type completely ([RIGHTWARDS ARROW] song type sharing between tutor and learner). Furthermore, the birds developed additional song types individually: by distinct parameter variation, or by recombination of particular tutor song units (Fig. 1; Table 1). Functional aspects of this type of song acquisition and development are discussed.