Australian Birds Use Fear To Attract Mates

Posted by on January 18th, 2011

Male splendid fairy-wrens flirt using fear and sing a special song each time they hear the call of one of their predators, the butcherbirds. Although this behaviour exposes their position and puts them in danger, it has been determined that this “vocal hitchhiking” on the predator calls is extremely useful for grabbing the attention of the ladies.

“We have shown that females do, in fact, become especially attentive after hearing butcherbird calls,” said Emma Greig, PhD, first author of the study and currently a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University. “So, it seems that male fairy-wrens may be singing when they know they will have an attentive audience, and, based on the response of females, this strategy may actually work!”


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