To better understand the formation and adult organization of the avian pallium, we studied the expression patterns of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), calbindin (CB), calretinin (CR), and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) in the hippocampal formation and hyperpallium of developing and adult chicks. Each marker showed a specific spatiotemporal expression pattern and was expressed in a region (area)-specific but dynamic manner during development. The combinatorial expression of these markers was very useful for identifying and following the development of subdivisions of the chicken hippocampal formation and hyperpallium. In the hyperpallium, three separate radially arranged subdivisions were present since early development showing distinct expression patterns: the apical hyperpallium (CB-rich); the intercalated hyperpallium (nNOS-rich, CB-poor); the dorsal hyperpallium (nNOS-poor, CB-moderate). Furthermore, a novel division was identified (CB-rich, CR-rich), interposed between hyper- and mesopallium and related to the lamina separating both, termed laminar pallial nucleus. This gave rise at its surface to part of the lateral hyperpallium. Later in development, the interstitial nucleus of the apical hyperpallium became visible as a partition of the apical hyperpallium. In the hippocampal formation, at least five radial divisions were observed, and these were compared with the divisions proposed recently in adult pigeons. Of note, the corticoid dorsolateral area (sometimes referred as caudolateral part of the parahippocampal area) contained CB immunoreactivity patches coinciding with Nissl-stained cell aggregates, partially resembling the patches described in the mammalian entorhinal cortex. Each neurochemical marker was present in specific neuronal subpopulations and axonal networks, providing insights into the functional maturation of the chicken pallium. J. Comp. Neurol. 497:751-771, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.