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.


In many tropical birds, breeding partners combine their songs in coordinated vocal duets. In species that have song repertoires, duetting birds may follow answering rules where they combine particular songs from their repertoire with particular songs in their partner's repertoires. These associations are called duet codes. I explored the answering rules and duet codes of Rufous-and-white Wrens (Thryophilus rufalbus), a Neotropical duetting songbird. I analysed over 5,000 duets recorded over seven years from a colour-banded population of Rufous-and-white Wrens. I found that pairs follow duet codes, and their answering rules remain consistent between years and partnerships. I found that females adhere more strongly to answering rules than males. Different pairs of Rufous-and-white Wrens followed the same answering rules. My findings enhance our understanding of duet function, communication in tropical animals, and the evolution of song repertoires.