Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata, are extremely sexually dimorphic in their singing behavior; males sing complex songs, whereas females do not sing at all. This study describes the developmental differentiation of the brain song system in Bengalese finches. Nissl staining was used to measure the volumes of four telencephalic song nuclei: Area X, HVC, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), and the lateral portion of the magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN). In juveniles (circa 35 days old), Area X and the HVC were well developed in males, while they were absent or not discernable in females. The RA was much larger in males but barely discernable in females. In males, the volumes of Area X and the RA increased further into adulthood, but that of the HVC remained unchanged. The LMAN volume was greater in juveniles than in adults, and there was no difference in the LMAN volume between the sexes. The overall tendency was similar to that described in zebra finches, except for the volume of the RA, where the degree of sexual dimorphism is larger and the timing of differentiation occurs earlier in Bengalese finches. Motor learning of the song continues until day 90 in zebra finches, but up to day 120 in Bengalese finches. Earlier neural differentiation and a longer learning period in Bengalese finches compared with zebra finches may be related to the more elaborate song structures of Bengalese finches.
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