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).

Don’t forget to follow Animal Perspectives on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Also read…

Quick and Dirty: Steps to Cleaning Your Feeders

Quick Reads: 3 Nature Books for the Young Ones

Quick Reads: 3 (More) Nature Books for the Young Ones

The Animal Perspectives Podcast

Sign up for The Animal Perspectives Monthly:

Is there a particular species of bird that you would like to see featured on our website?

Are you a nature writer/blogger and would like to write a guest blog for AnimalPerspectives.Com, or do a blog exchange?

Maybe you snapped a great photo and have a story you’d like to share with it?

Either way, drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!


Categories: Birds

Tagged as: , , ,