Which birds are the best songsters is a question that is subjective. The nightingale of Europe Erithacus , or Luscinia , megarhynchos , a small thrush , perhaps heads the list of famous songsters of European literature. Also a favourite of the poets was the European skylark Alaudia arvensis. In North America the mockingbird Mimus polyglottos is a wonderful performer with a rich, melodious, long-continued song.
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In Australia the lyrebirds, which are not true songbirds, have songs that are superlative in variety and intensity and have a dramatic quality. Though the best songsters may be true songbirds, some birds of other groups have pleasing or musical utterances, like the quavering trill of the screech owl and the cheery whistle of the bobwhite quail.
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See Article History. Alternative Titles: Oscines, Passeri, oscine, passerine. Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. The songbird brain has two main neural pathways.
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The first is a motor pathway involved in song production, and the second is a pathway in the anterior forebrain that is involved in song learning and recognition. In some species, learning is restricted to the first year….
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Psychologists solve mystery of songbird learning
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