The song of oscine birds is a behavior in which acquisition and production is mediated by a specialized set of neuronal nuclei called the “song system”. Within the song system, the telencephalic nucleus HVC (proper name) is involved in the perception and production of song. Previous electrophysiological studies have shown that subsets of its neurons display selectivity, responding more intensely to the presentation of the bird’s own song (BOS) than to almost all other sounds, as well as a precise auditory–vocal correspondence. The characterization of auditory responses in HVC has been developed mainly in sleeping or anesthetized birds. However, there are different reports regarding the neuronal response in HVC in awake individuals, depending on the species.
We analyzed recordings of extracellular neuronal activity in the nucleus HVC during the presentation of auditory stimuli in freely behaving male canaries (Serinus canaria). The bird’s own song (BOS) was the target stimulus to study the neural response, while the song of a conspecific (CON) and the temporally reversed bird’s song (REV) were used as control stimuli to assess the selectivity of the auditory response. The different types of neuronal responses obtained were categorized and their salient properties were quantified. For a particular case, the auditory neuronal response was compared with previous reports of premotor activity during song production to study the auditory–vocal correspondence in this species.