Birds

This Is No Chicken Dance

Image Credit: Wiki Commons/Sandy Cole

Apparently, it isn’t about how one talks the talk, or walks the walk, but how one dances the dance — and talks the talk.

A scientific report published on Nature.Com this month examines the courtship rituals of the socially monogamous songbird the Blue-capped Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus). Scientists from the university of Hokkaido and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology recorded courtship displays with a high-speed video and examined the footage as their experiment.

They discovered that along with song and bobbing, the courtship display of these birds, across the sexes, includes a type of step-dancing. This dancing during the visual part of the birds’ courtship display is thought to produce vibrations or non-vocal sounds and is a unique scientific finding.

What makes this a novel finding is that the birds are using two types or acoustic signaling during their courtship displays — one vocal (singing), the other non-vocal (the sound produced by step-dancing). Other species do this, but not simultaneously as the Blue-capped Cordon-bleu.

Video from the study below via Science News:

Ota, N. et al. Tap dancing birds: the multimodal mutual courtship display of males and females in a socially monogamous songbird. Sci. Rep. 5, 16614; doi: 10.1038/srep16614 (2015). http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16614#s2

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Categories: Birds

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