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The High Vocal Center (HVC) is a nucleus in the brain of the songbirds (order passeriformes) necessary for both the learning and the production of bird song. It is located in the lateral caudal nidopallium and has projections to both the direct and the anterior forebrain pathways.
It is notable that both of the other orders of birds that learn song, the hummingbirds and parrots, also seem to have structures similar to the HVC. Since it is believed that all three of these groups independently derived the ability to learn song, it is believed that these other HVC-like structures are examples of homoplasy.
The High Vocal Center was originally called the Hyperstriatum Ventrale, pars caudale, or HVc. When the nomenclature of the avian brain was revised in 2004, however, this name became obsolete (http://www.annalsnyas.org/cgi/content/full/1016/1/77). In order to keep the same acronym the structure was renamed the High Vocal Center. The acronym HVC is also considered an equally valid name.
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