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      Early-life lessons of the courtship dance in a dance-duetting songbird, the Java sparrow

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          Abstract

          Vocal learners, such as songbirds, must practise singing in a developmentally sensitive period to master songs. Yet, knowledge remains limited about the development of visual displays in birds, even when courtship includes well-coordinated vocalizations (songs) and body motions. The Java sparrow ( Lonchura oryzivora) is a species of songbird that exhibits a courtship duet dancing exchange between the sexes, with this behaviour driving mating success. In this study, juvenile male Java sparrows were observed in captivity, showing that they repeatedly practise the courtship dance in their early life. We called it ‘practice’, as juvenile birds frequently dance towards family members or other juveniles well before sexual maturation. Based on our observation that dance motor performance increased with age, we propose that the practice is needed for motor learning. In addition, it could also be important for establishing vocal-motional coordination or socialization. Older juveniles gradually became capable of singing and dancing simultaneously, and participated in duet dancing more often. We also found that repeated encounters with the same individual promote dance movement. Though our results do not show how much social experiences account for the development of dance communication, early-life dance practising might influence future reproductive success, like song practising does.

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          Most cited references 29

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          The evolution of mutual ornamentation

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            A review of hypotheses for the functions of avian duetting

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              Temporal coordination signals coalition quality.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                R Soc Open Sci
                R Soc Open Sci
                RSOS
                royopensci
                Royal Society Open Science
                The Royal Society
                2054-5703
                June 2019
                5 June 2019
                5 June 2019
                : 6
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Behavioral Neurobiology Group, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University , Kita 10, Nishi 8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
                [2 ]Behavioral Neurobiology Group, Biosystems Science Course, The Graduate School of Life Science, Hokkaido University , Kita 10, Nishi 8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
                Author notes
                Author for correspondence: Masayo Soma e-mail: masayo.soma@ 123456sci.hokudai.ac.jp

                Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4514702.

                Article
                rsos190563
                10.1098/rsos.190563
                6599803
                © 2019 The Authors.

                Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001691;
                Award ID: 16H06177
                Award ID: 23680027
                Categories
                1001
                14
                Biology (Whole Organism)
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                June, 2019

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