Song and duet function of the chirruping wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus)
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 18:12 by Victoria I. Bywater
The Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus) is medium sized, monomorphic passerine that is endemic to the arid regions of Central Australia. Despite highly conspicuous singing behaviours, particularly by males, this species has yet to be formally studied. This lack of study represents broader trends in behavioural ecology research in Australia where despite 70% of the continent is classified as arid zone, the majority of species in this area have not been the subject of research. Male Chirruping Wedgebills possess a trill syntax song type, a simple repetitive form of song that is physically very difficult to produce. In addition, females of this species sing and both males and females are known to form antiphonal duets, a temporally precise form of joint song. These interesting singing behaviours present us with an opportunity to further develop our understanding of song function and also provide us with a foundation for understanding this species behavioural ecology. By examining duet function in this habitat type and by including females in our examination of song rates, we are able to address current biases that exist in the study of song. In addition, by studying the Chirruping Wedgebill, we are able to contribute valuable information to a small amount of research being conducted on the behavioural ecology of arid zone species in Australia.