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Australian Journal of Zoology 53(3)

To: <>
Subject: Australian Journal of Zoology 53(3)
From: "Matthew Stanton" <>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 14:09:33 EDT
Male and female song structure and singing behaviour in the duetting
eastern whipbird, Psophodes olivaceus

Amy C. Rogers

Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010,
Australia. Email: 

In many tropical bird species, partners combine their songs to form
precise duets, of which the function is imperfectly understood. Duet
structure and sex differences in vocal strategies may be important
indicators of different selective pressures that have led to the
evolution and maintenance of these complex acoustic displays. This study
examines the singing behaviour of a population of the eastern whipbird,
a bird that forms antiphonal duets initiated exclusively by the male. In
all, 7% of duets recorded were between a paired female and a male other
than her social partner. Males sang more often than females, their songs
were longer and moved through a wider frequency range, and they had a
larger song repertoire. Females sang two types of song: response songs,
used primarily in a duet context, and structurally distinct solo songs,
typically used during interactions with other females. Eastern whipbirds
lacked unique song types among the repertoires of individual males and
females. Males and females combined songs non-randomly to produce
specific duets that were shared across the population. Results suggested
that song and duet type matching might play an important role in
intrasex interactions, such as defence of a territory, or a partner,
from same-sex intruders.

Australian Journal of Zoology 53(3) 157-166

Submitted: 4 December 2004    Accepted: 22 April 2005    Published: 16
June 2005
Full text DOI: 10.1071/ZO04083
(c) CSIRO 2005

Other papers in this issue have marginal bioacoustics interest also.

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