Songbirds are well suited to studies of vocal processing not only because of their impressive motor abilities, but also because of their exquisite sensory system that allows them to detect subtle song variability, memorize complex songs, and monitor auditory feedback during singing. Recent experiments point to areas outside the traditional song system for being relevant to sensory functions implicated in song learning. By manipulating or suppressing activity in these areas, adult birds lose their ability to recognize the songs of their tutors and juveniles are unable to form accurate copies of tutor song. Taken together, these experiments show that the sensory mechanisms for vocal learning encompass a larger network than previously thought. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.