Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Mennill, Daniel (Biological Sciences)


Biology, Ecology.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Despite the high biodiversity that characterizes the tropics relative to temperate latitudes, we know comparatively little about the ecology and behaviour of tropical animals. In many tropical birds, males and females coordinate their songs to form duets. My thesis quantitatively describes the vocal behaviour of Barred Antshrikes (Thamnophilus doliatus), Neotropical duetting songbirds. My thesis consists of two main components: a thorough description of vocal behaviour and a playback experiment testing two hypotheses for duet function. I found substantial sex differences in the fine structure of Barred Antshrike songs. Analysis of passive recordings revealed that song output is highest during the early morning and in the period prior to nesting. Playback results indicate that duets are important in territory defence and intrasexual aggression between females. Evaluating communication strategies of tropical species is important for understanding patterns of behavioural ecology and provides useful comparisons to patterns observed in north-temperate regions.