Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Daniel Mennill


Biological sciences



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.


This thesis examines sound transmission and the communication behaviour of Neotropical Rufous-and-white Wrens. A song transmission experiment revealed strong effects of distance, signaller perch height, and sex on song degradation, minor effects of receiver perch height, and mixed effects of microhabitat. An examination of fine structure of Rufous-and-white Wren song in relation to habitat did not show a strong effect of microhabitat on song structure, although it did quantitatively validate the use of song type classes in this species. A field study of perch height selection in Rufous-and-white Wrens showed that they use elevated song posts, which were shown to provide a song propagation benefit. Males perch higher than females, which may be related to a more active territorial defence or mate guarding role for male song. This is the first sound transmission-based investigation of effective communication in both sexes of a tropical duetting species.