Songs to remember: on the functions of song memorisation in female zebra finches.
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Memorisation brings along costs, therefore certain benefits must outweigh these costs. Zebra finches are able to memorise songs, this takes place both early in life and throughout life. Males use memories of songs in order to develop an own song. However, female zebra finches do not sing, and therefore song memorisation in females must serve other purposes. We discussed the functions of song memorisation in female zebra finches based on current literature. We explored the functions of song memorisation in recognition and female mate choice. It is shown that female zebra finches are able to recognise conspecifics, their own subspecies and their mate. Furthermore, song memorisation in female zebra finches could play a role in mate choice. Females learn to prefer songs of tutored males of their own subspecies by memorising songs. Besides, avoiding inbreeding and finding a local mate could be functions of song memorisation as well, but further research needs to clarify this. Concluding, to some extent, recognition and mate choice seem to be functions of song memorisation. Why birdsong evolved remains a major question, although the functions of song memorisation could shed light on this problem.