Birds

This Is No Chicken Dance

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

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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