Journal article

Female song and vocal interactions with males in a neotropical wren

Michelle L Hall, Maria RD Rittenbach, Sandra L Vehrencamp



Bird song is thought to function primarily in same-sex competition, mate attraction, and reproductive stimulation of a partner. However, these conclusions are based largely on studies of the song of male birds in north-temperate species. We investigate female song in a Neotropical wren, Thryophilus pleurostictus, using observations and experiments to test the function of female song. Female banded wrens sang much less often than males, their songs were shorter, and their repertoire of song types was smaller. Females did not seem to sing for same-sex competition for resources or mates: female song rate did not increase in response to simulated intrusion, and females sang in response to less t..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by National Institute of Mental Health

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Anya Illes, Erin Bohman, and Jessica Niederer for assistance with field recordings and experiments. We also thank Roger Blanco and Maria Marta Chavarria and other staff at Santa Rosa National Park in The Area Conservacion de Guanacaste, Costa Rica, for hosting and supporting our research there. This research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant R01-MH60461), and adhered to the Animal Behavior Society Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research, the legal requirements of Costa Rica, and all institutional guidelines. Song recordings illustrated in Figure 1 have been deposited in the online repository for sharing bird song data are available from the authors on request.