Bird song: superfast muscles control dove's trill

Nature. 2004 Sep 9;431(7005):146. doi: 10.1038/431146a.


Bird songs frequently contain trilling sounds that demand extremely fast vocalization control. Here we show that doves control their syrinx, a vocal organ that is unique to birds, by using superfast muscles. These muscles, which are similar to those that operate highly specialist acoustic organs such as the rattle of the rattlesnake, are among the fastest vertebrate muscles known and could be much more widespread than previously thought if they are the principal muscle type used to control bird songs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Columbidae / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Sound
  • Time Factors
  • Vibration
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology*