Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Mennill, Daniel

Second Advisor

Doucet, Stéphanie


interspecific competition, multimodal signalling, species discrimination, Thryothorus wrens




Animals must discriminate between individuals within their own species, and between individuals of their own species and individuals of competitor species, allowing animals to differentiate between threatening rivals, non-threatening individuals, and potential mates. Studying two competing neotropical wren species, I tested the influence of experience on species discrimination using acoustic playback. Contrary to my predictions, the playback experiment showed that species discrimination was not influenced by previous experience with a competitor species. I also studied the relative importance of acoustic and visual signals for intra- and interspecific discrimination using playback combined with presentation of visual models. The playback-and-model-presentation experiment showed that wrens in dense habitats use both acoustic and visual signals for species discrimination, but rely more on acoustic signals. My research provides insight into species discrimination and is the first study to investigate how male and female birds in the tropics use multimodal signalling for intra- and interspecific discrimination.