• evolution;
  • mineralocorticoid receptor;
  • parrot;
  • quail;
  • songbird

Mineralocorticoid receptor is the receptor for corticosteroids such as corticosterone or aldosterone. Previously, we found that mineralocorticoid receptor was highly expressed in song nuclei of a songbird, Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica). Here, to examine the relationship between mineralocorticoid receptor expression and avian vocal learning, we analyzed mineralocorticoid receptor expression in the developing brain of another vocal learner, budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) and non-vocal learners, quail (Coturnix japonica) and ring dove (Streptopelia capicola). Mineralocorticoid receptor showed vocal control area-related expressions in budgerigars as Bengalese finches, whereas no such mineralocorticoid receptor expressions were seen in the telencephalon of non-vocal learners. Thus, these results suggest the possibility that mineralocorticoid receptor plays a role in vocal development of parrots as songbirds and that the acquisition of mineralocorticoid receptor expression is involved in the evolution of avian vocal learning.