Few studies have investigated the vocal communication of ratites, and none has investigated the spectral and temporal structure of vocalizations of Apteryx, the only extant ratite genus in New Zealand. We describe the long-range vocalization (whistle call) and vocal behavior of male and female North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli). Spontaneous calling by seven pairs was recorded in the field over a one-year period. Call notes produced by males were tonal in nature; the fundamental frequency was ~1.5 kHz, with overtones reaching up to ~13.0 kHz. Call notes produced by females contained a series of tightly packed, poorly defined harmonics and consisted of a fundamental frequency of ~0.1 kHz, with overtones reaching ~7.0 kHz. The amplitude within notes of females was concentrated into two prominent formants. Some individuals of pairs exhibited duetting behavior that resulted in alteration of the inter-note interval after the onset of the call of their mate. Our findings draw attention to the uniqueness of the North Island Brown Kiwi's vocalizations, and we uncovered some unexpected structural features that call for further investigation.
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Vol. 125 • No. 2