The complex song duet of the Plain Wren

N I Mann, L Marshall-Ball, P J B Slater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied the duet of the Caribbean-slope subspecies of the Plain Wren (Thryothorus modestus zeledoni) in Costa Rica. It is one of the most complex duets to have been described. The duet proper consists of rapid, highly coordinated alternation of "A-phrases" from the female and "B-phrases" from the male. While the female initiates this section with her A-phrase, this cyclical part of the duet is almost invariably preceded by an introductory "I-phrase" from the male, so that it is the male that initiates the performance. Each male has a repertoire of I- and B-phrases, and each female has a repertoire of A-phrases. These are specifically associated with each other to form a repertoire of duet types. We hypothesize that the pattern of song organization in this species facilitates more coordinated and precise duetting. The presence of the three components means that a full duet requires the cooperation of both members of the pair, strongly suggesting that it represents a mutually beneficial signal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-682
Number of pages11
JournalCondor
Volume105
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • duetting
  • Plain Wren
  • song
  • Thryothorus
  • THRYOTHORUS-NIGRICAPILLUS
  • REPRODUCTIVE STRATEGIES
  • BIRDS
  • COMMITMENT
  • BEHAVIOR
  • MAGPIE
  • SEX

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