Male birds maintain their attractiveness by singing every day

Male songbirds must sing daily to exercise their vocal muscles and produce songs that are attractive to females.

If you are a male of the human species, attractiveness is a complicated mix of charisma, facial features, athletic body and financial status. But when you’re a bird, you have no choice but to sing to attract females, and to maintain your attractiveness you have to practice every day, like tenors in the opera.

According to a study by the University of Southern Denmark, published in the renowned journal Nature communicationThis song is crucial not only for impressing potential mates, but also for defending their territory and maintaining social bonds. Researchers found that birds become slower and weaker within days when they stop using their vocal muscles. Even after 7 days without singing, the vocal muscles already lose 50% of their strength. What was surprising was that female zebra finches used in song reproduction experiments could sense the difference and preferred the songs of males who exercised regularly. This discovery raises an alternative reason why birds sing so much every day: to remain attractive to their mates.

Interestingly, the vocal muscles of songbirds require different training programs than the leg muscles. While humans’ leg and arm muscles typically slow down during exercise, birds’ vocal muscles weaken and speed up, unlike normal limb muscles. This suggests that the vocal muscles may require some kind of reverse training, which could apply to all vertebrates, including humans. The results of this study could have important implications for speech therapy and vocal training in humans, as the musculature of the human larynx is difficult to study and therapeutic interventions are often based on what is known about the training physiology of the speech legs.

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References

In order for a songbird to achieve peak singing performance, daily vocal training is necessary

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