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Vocal duetting, where two birds produce temporally coordinated vocalizations, has been reported in a taxonomically and geographically diverse set of avian species. Researchers have suggested a number of potential correlates of duetting, including long term monogamy, year-round territory defense and sexual plumage monomorphism. Because the majority of duetting species are tropical, they have been the focus of the most comprehensive studies to date. There is, therefore, a real need for data regarding avian duets in temperate species. I used the recently completed Birds of North America species reports to examine the frequency, evolutionary origins and potential life history correlates of duetting behavior in North American passerines. “Duetting” behavior was reported in 7% of species from 12 avian families, likely representing 17 separate evolutionary origins. Duetting species showed apparent long term monogamy and year-round territoriality at frequencies more than double those of non-duetting passerines: 65% of duetting species were long term monogamous, compared to 27% of non-duetting species, and 50% of duetting species defended the same territory throughout the year, compared with only 11% of non-duetting species. Duetting and non-duetting species showed statistically indistinguishable frequencies of sexual plumage monomorphism. Comparative analyses of duetting species and their sister taxa revealed that the shift to duetting is accompanied by a gain of long term monogamy and year-round territoriality more often than it is associated with a loss of those traits. This study provides intriguing summary evidence that selective factors promoting duetting may be associated with a sedentary, monogamous lifestyle, and may operate similarly across taxonomic groups. Furthermore, vocal duetting may be considerably more common among temperate-zone species than previously recognized.