Rufous-and-white Wrens (Thryothorus rufalbus) belong to a genus of twenty-eight species of new world songbirds. The voices of Thryothorus wrens are among the most complex voices in the animal kingdom. In many Thryothorus wrens, including Rufous-and-white Wrens, males and females coordinate their songs to perform elaborate vocal duets. Scroll down through this webpage to explore examples of male solo songsfemale solo songs. Then listen to how males and female s combine their songs to perform male-female duets. You can also learn about the simpler male and female calls of Rufous-and-white Wrens.

Male Rufous-and-white Wren Solo Songs

Four songs from two different males are presented at right. Click on the sound spectrograms to hear the songs.
Male 1

Male 2

The male solos are arranged in matching order from left to right. Listen to the similarities in the matching songs of these two males, as well as the subtle differences

Note the similarity between the third song of each male and the second song of each female, below.

Female Rufous-and-white Wren Solo Songs

Three songs from two different females are presented at right. Click on the sound spectrograms to hear the songs.
Female 1

Female 2

The top two solo songs from each female are arranged in matching order from left to right.

The bottom two songs are not matches between these two females.

Rufous-and-white Wren Duets

Four different duets are presented here. Click on the sound spectrograms to hear the duets. Both the male and female can play the role of duet initiator or duet reciprocator.
Male-initiated simple duet:

Move your mouse over the sound spectrograms: the male song is coded in blue, the female in red. These sound files are in stereo where the male contribution is in the left channel and the female in the right.
Female-initiated simple duet:

In addition to "simple duets" like the first two duets above, Rufous-and-white wrens sing more complicated duets such as this "sandwich duet" and this "complex duet".
Male-initiated sandwich duet:

Male-initiated complex duet:

Rufous-and-white Wren Calls

In addition to their complex songs, Rufous-and-white wrens have several simple calls. Hoots and whoops are short and quiet musical sounds which are often given near the nest.


Ticks and rattles are harsher sounding calls which are typical of most Thryothorus wrens. Both of these calls appear to be associated with alarm.


The songs and duets on this webpage correspond to the sound spectrograms shown in figure 1 and figure 4 of the paper Mennill DJ, & Vehrencamp SL. (2005) Sex differences in singing and duetting behavior of neotropical rufous-and-white wrens (Thryothorus rufalbus). Auk 122: 175-186. You can read a reprint of this paper by clicking here.

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All information on this website is copyright Daniel Mennill 2005 unless otherwise indicated.  No recordings, photographs, or other information may be used without written permission from me.  Please email me at dmennill AT uwindsor DOT ca and I will happily grant permission for most non-commercial or educational purposes.