A songbird is a bird belonging to the clade Passeri of the perching birds (Passeriformes). Another name that is sometimes seen as a scientific or vernacular name is Oscines, from Latin oscen, "a songbird". This group contains 5000 or so species[1][2] found all over the world, in which the vocal organ typically is developed in such a way as to produce a diverse and elaborate bird song.

Songbirds form one of the two major lineages of extant perching birds, the other being the Tyranni, which are most diverse in the Neotropics and absent from many parts of the world. The Tyranni have a simpler syrinx musculature, and while their vocalizations are often just as complex and striking as those of songbirds, they are altogether more mechanical sounding. There is a third perching bird lineage, the Acanthisitti from New Zealand, of which only two species remain alive today.[3] Some evidence suggests that songbirds evolved 50 million years ago in the part of Gondwana that later became India, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Antarctica, before spreading around the world.[4]

Temporal range: Early Eocene to present
Eastern yellow robin
Eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis)
Song of a chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Linnaeus, 1758

Many, see text


See text


The song in this clade is essentially territorial, because it communicates the identity and whereabouts of an individual to other birds, and also signals sexual intentions. Sexual selection among songbirds is highly based on mimetic vocalization. Female preference has shown in some populations to be based on the extent of a male's song repertoire. The larger a male's repertoire, the more females a male individual attracts.[5] It is not to be confused with bird calls that are used for alarms and contact and are especially important in birds that feed or migrate in flocks. While almost all living birds give calls of some sort, well-developed songs are only given by a few lineages outside the songbirds.

the American Robin, like most thrushes has a complex near continuous song, consisting of discrete units often repeated and spliced by a string of pauses.

Other birds (especially non-passeriforms) sometimes have songs to attract mates or hold territory, but these are usually simple and repetitive, lacking the variety of many oscine songs. The monotonous repetition of the common cuckoo or little crake can be contrasted with the variety of a nightingale or marsh warbler. On the other hand, although many songbirds have songs that are pleasant to the human ear, this is not invariably the case. Many members of the crow family (Corvidae) communicate with croaks or screeches, which sound harsh to humans. Even these, however, have a song of sorts, a softer twitter that is given between courting partners. And even though some parrots (which are not songbirds) can be taught to repeat human speech, vocal mimicry among birds is almost completely restricted to songbirds, some of which (such as the lyrebirds or the aptly-named mockingbirds) excel in imitating the sounds of other birds or even environmental noises.[6][7]

Song repertoire and courtship

Sexual selection can be broken down into several different studies regarding different aspects of a bird’s song. As a result, song can vary even within a single species. Many believe that song repertoire and cognition have a direct relationship. However, a study published in 2013 has shown that all cognitive ability may not be directly related to the song repertoire of a songbird. Specifically, spatial learning is said to have an inverse relationship with song repertoire. So for example, this would be an individual who does not migrate as far as others in the species, but has a better song repertoire. This suggests an evolutionary trade-off between possible alleles. With natural selection choosing traits best fit for reproductive success there could be a trade off in either direction depending on which trait would produce a higher fitness at that time period.[8]

Nightingale Song: Because nightingales sing both day and night, it is believed night songs are courtship related and dawn songs are territorial in nature.

Song repertoire can be attributed to male songbirds as it is one of the main mechanisms of courtship. Song repertoires differ from male individual to male individual and species to species. Some species may typically have large repertoires while others may have significantly smaller ones. Mate choice in female songbirds is a significant realm of study as song abilities are continuously evolving. Currently there have been numerous studies involving songbird repertoires, unfortunately, there has yet been concrete evidence to confirm that every songbird species prefers larger repertoires. A conclusion can be made that it can vary between specific species on whether a larger repertoire is connected to better fitness. With this conclusion, it can be inferred that evolution via natural selection, or sexual selection, favors the ability to retain larger repertoires for these certain species as it leads to higher reproductive success.[5] During times of courtship, it is said that male songbirds increase their repertoire by mimicking other species songs. The better the mimicking ability, retaining ability, and the quantity of other species mimicked has been proven to have a positive relationship with mating success. Female preferences cause the constant improvement of accuracy and presentation of the copied songs.[9]

Taxonomy and systematics

Sibley and Alquist divided songbirds into two "parvorders", Corvida and Passerida (standard taxonomic practice would rank these as infraorders). Subsequent molecular studies, however, show this treatment to be somewhat erroneous. Passerida is a highly diverse lineage, uniting over one third of all bird species to include (in 2015) 3885 species[1]). These are divided into three major superfamilies (though not exactly corresponding to the Sibley-Ahlquist arrangement), in addition to some minor lineages.

In contrast, Sibley & Alquist's "Corvida" is a phylogenetic grade, and an artefact of the phenetic methodology. The bulk of the "Corvida" make up the large superfamily Corvoidea (812 species as of 2015 [1]), which is a sister group to the Passerida. The remaining 15 oscine families (343 species in 2015[1]) form a series of basally branching sister groups to the Corvoid - Passerid clade.[10] All of these groups, which form at least six successively branching basal clades, are found exclusively or predominantly in Australasia. Australian endemics are also prominent among basal lineages in both Corvoids and Passerids, suggesting that songbirds originated and diverged in Australia.[4]


See also


  1. ^ a b c d IOC World Bird List 5.1. doi:10.14344/IOC.ML.5.1.
  2. ^ Edwards, Scott V. and John Harshman. 2013. Passeriformes. Perching Birds, Passerine Birds. Version 06 February 2013 (under construction). in The Tree of Life Web Project,[Accessed 2017/12/11].
  3. ^ Barker, F. K; Cibois, A; Schikler, P; Feinstein, J; Cracraft, J (2004). "Phylogeny and diversification of the largest avian radiation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 101 (30): 11040–5. Bibcode:2004PNAS..10111040B. doi:10.1073/pnas.0401892101. JSTOR 3372849. PMC 503738. PMID 15263073.
  4. ^ a b Low, T. (2014), Where Song Began: Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World, Tyre: Penguin Australia
  5. ^ a b Byers, Bruce E; Kroodsma, Donald E (2009). "Female mate choice and songbird song repertoires". Animal Behaviour. 77 (1): 13–22. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.10.003.
  6. ^ Tapper, James. "The nation's favourite Attenborough moment". Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  7. ^ Fleming, Kaitlin. "The Northern Mockingbird: Nature's Copycat". FSU ornithology: the bird blogs. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  8. ^ Sewall, K. B; Soha, J. A; Peters, S; Nowicki, S (2013). "Potential trade-off between vocal ornamentation and spatial ability in a songbird". Biology Letters. 9 (4): 20130344. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0344. PMC 3730647. PMID 23697642.
  9. ^ Borgia, Gerald; Siani, Jennifer; Coyle, Brian; Patricelli, Gail Lisa; Coleman, Seth William (2007). "Female preferences drive the evolution of mimetic accuracy in male sexual displays". Biology Letters. 3 (5): 463–6. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2007.0234. PMC 2391182. PMID 17623632.
  10. ^ Harshman, John. (2006). Oscines. Songbirds. Version 31 July 2006 (under construction). in The Tree of Life Web Project,

Video links

External links

  • Oscines Tree of Life web project article July 31, 2006
Cage the Songbird

Cage the Songbird is an album by the American country music singer Crystal Gayle. Released on October 17, 1983, it peaked at #5 on the Billboard Country Album chart.Four of the album's tracks became Top 5 hits on the Country Singles chart, with two of them reaching #1. Chronologically they were "The Sound of Goodbye" (#1), "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love" (#2), "Turning Away" (#1), and "Me Against the Night" (#4). The title song, "Cage the Songbird", was co-written and first recorded by Elton John in 1976.

Cage the Songbird (song)

"Cage the Songbird" is a song written by Elton John, Bernie Taupin, and Davey Johnstone and performed by Elton John, first appearing on the album Blue Moves in 1976. It tells the fictional story of torch singer Edith Piaf's last hours before a tragic suicide (Piaf actually died of liver cancer). The theme of a celebrity's tragic life and death recalled John-Taupin's earlier song, "Candle in the Wind", from 1973's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Cage the Songbird was also a projected 1976 album by Kiki Dee, that was eventually released in 2008 (EMI 363 1252). It was produced by Robert Appere.The song was covered by Crystal Gayle and made the title track to her 1983 album.

Eva Cassidy

Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996) was an American singer and guitarist known for her interpretations of jazz and blues. In 1992, she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by the 1996 live solo album titled Live at Blues Alley. Although she had been honored by the Washington Area Music Association, she was virtually unknown outside her native Washington, D.C.. She died of melanoma in 1996 at the age of 33.

Two years after her death, Cassidy's music was brought to the attention of British audiences, when her versions of "Fields of Gold" and "Over the Rainbow" were played by Mike Harding and Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of "Over the Rainbow", taken at Blues Alley in Washington by her friend Bryan McCulley, was shown on BBC Two's Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Chart, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom and Ireland led to increased recognition worldwide. Her posthumously released recordings, including three number-one albums and one number-one single in the UK, have sold more than ten million copies. Her music has also charted within the top 10 in Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

Jerry Hollendorfer

Jerry Hollendorfer (born June 18, 1946 in Akron, Ohio) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse trainer whose notable horses include Eclipse Award winners Blind Luck, Shared Belief and Songbird. He has the most wins in the history of Northern California race horse trainers. In 2011, he was inducted into the US Racing Hall of Fame.

La India

Linda Viera Caballero (born March 9, 1969), better known as La India, is a Puerto Rican singer and songwriter of salsa, house music and Latin pop. La India has been nominated for both Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, winning the Latin Grammy Award for Best Salsa Album for the Intensamente La India Con Canciones De Juan Gabriel album.

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Nightingale was a free, open source audio player and web browser based on the Songbird media player source code. As such, Nightingale's engine is based on the Mozilla XULRunner with libraries such as the GStreamer media framework and libtag providing media tagging and playback support, amongst others. Since official support for Linux was dropped by Songbird in April 2010, Linux-using members of the Songbird community diverged and created the project. By contrast to Songbird, which is primarily licensed under the GPLv2 but includes artwork that is not freely distributable, Nightingale is free software, licensed under the GPLv2, with portions under the MPL and BSD licenses.

Nightingale has not seen a new release since 2014 and most, if not all, Nightingale developers are no longer actively contributing to its development.

Regine Velasquez

Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez (; born April 22, 1970) is a Filipino singer, actress and record producer. She gained recognition by winning both the 1984 Ang Bagong Kampeon and the 1989 Asia-Pacific Song Contest, representing the Philippines in the latter. Velasquez rose to fame with the release of "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang" from her self-titled debut album in 1987. The album was generally well received and produced two more singles, "Urong Sulong" and "Isang Lahi", that established her as a commercially viable Filipino pop artist.

Velasquez-Alcasid signed a recording contract with Polygram Records in 1994 and released Listen Without Prejudice, marking her debut as an up-and-coming artist in the Southeast and East Asian region. It became her best-selling record in the region to date and produced "In Love With You", which became her most successful single of the 1990s. Its accompanying music video was named Video of the Decade by MTV Asia. Velasquez parted with Polygram in 1997, citing a lack of creative control over her music and public image, and signed a record deal with VIVA Records the following year. She was given full conceptual and creative control as the executive producer of R2K (1999). The album became the best-selling album by a female artist in the Philippines, and the best-selling album by a local artist in 1999 and 2000.

Velasquez ventured into film with a lead role in Wanted Perfect Mother (1996). She continued to play female lead roles in romantic comedy films — including Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw (2000) and Pangako Ikaw Lang (2001), with the latter being the highest-grossing Filipino film in 2001. She has also been successful in television with the shows Maalaala Mo Kaya (2002), Forever In My Heart (2004), Diva (2010) and Poor Señorita (2016). In the first of these, she appeared as a mentally challenged woman in a featured episode, which earned her a Star Award for Best Actress, while the other three were lead roles in prime time television shows.

During her career, Velasquez has sold more than 8.5 million records regionally. According to the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI) she is the best-selling artist of all time in the Philippines, with seven million certified albums sold domestically and a further 1.5 million in Southeast and East Asia. Covers, Vol. 1 (2004) became her eighth album with sales exceeding 200,000 copies, more than any other solo artist in the Philippines. Velasquez has won two Asian Television Awards, two MTV Asia Awards, 21 Awit Awards, 21 Box Office Entertainment Awards, 13 Aliw Awards and nine Star Awards for Music, and has been consistently credited with inspiring a generation of Filipino singers. Referred to as "Asia's songbird", she is regarded for her vocal range, agility and use of the belting technique.

Songbird (Barbra Streisand album)

Songbird is a studio album by Barbra Streisand, released in 1978. The album includes Streisand's solo version of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers". She also subsequently recorded this song as a duet with Neil Diamond and this version topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two non-consecutive weeks in December 1978. The title track reached number 25 on the Hot 100 and spent two weeks atop the adult contemporary chart.

In the United States the album has been certified Platinum for sales of 1,000,000 copies.

Songbird (Fleetwood Mac song)

"Songbird" is a popular song by British American rock band Fleetwood Mac. It first appeared on the 1977 album Rumours and was released as the B-side of the single "Dreams". It is one of four songs written solely by Christine McVie on the album. She would frequently sing the song at concerts. The song came to McVie at 3am; she composed and wrote the whole song in half an hour, and played it continuously until she could record it the same morning.

Songbird (Kenny G composition)

"Songbird" is a song by Kenny G, played on a soprano saxophone, and the third single from his 1986 album Duotones. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, No. 4 on the Hot 100 chart and No. 23 on the R&B chart.When released in 1987, the song became the first instrumental to reach the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 since the "Miami Vice Theme" by Jan Hammer (a No. 1 hit) in 1985.

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Songbird (Melissa Gold), formerly known as Screaming Mimi, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Originally a supervillain, she possesses supersonic sound abilities that can cause a variety of effects.

Songbird (horse)

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She was the 2015 American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly after being undefeated in four starts, including Grade I victories in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes, Chandelier Stakes and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She was undefeated against three-year-old fillies in 2016 including the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, Alabama and Cotillion Stakes. Her 11-race undefeated streak ended in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, where she was second by a scant nose to the 6-year-old champion mare, Beholder. Despite the loss, she was a unanimous selection as the American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly of 2016. In 2017 after her return to the racetrack was delayed by injury, she won the Grade I Ogden Phipps after a seven-month layoff and then won the Delaware Handicap in July for her ninth Grade I victory. In August, she finished second, beaten by just a neck, in the Personal Ensign Stakes in what became her final start. After the race, an exam uncovered some hidden injuries to her front and hind legs, causing her to be retired. She was sold as a broodmare at the November Fasig-Tipton sale for a near-record price of $9.5 million.

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Songbird announced on 14 June 2013 that it would stop all operations and shut down by 28 June. The company was unable to fund further business operations and as a result all operations and associated services have been discontinued.


Songmaster (1980) is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. The story of the Songmaster occurs in a future human empire, and follows Ansset, a beautiful young boy whose perfect singing voice has the power of amplifying people's emotions, making him both a potential healer and destroyer. He is trained in the art of singing so beautifully that his songs can express ideas and emotions more truthfully than words. This novel was based on Card's short story "Mikal's Songbird".

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The Thunderbolts are a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team consists mostly of reformed supervillains.

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