Many male birds use their flashy colored feathers to lure females, but the great bowerbird of Australia has mastered the art of illusion to captivate the ladies, researchers said Thursday. (from Canada.com)
New research in Science this week shows that we aren’t the only species that uses visual clues as a means to an end: male bowerbirds’ mating success depends on their ability to create a false sense of perspective.
Male great bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis) have a tough job. To woo females, they must construct an elaborate bower, centered around two parallel walls of sticks planted vertically in the ground. In front and behind the bower are two “courts,” connected by a path called an “avenue” between the two walls. The male builds the courts by collecting stones, bones, and shells, and arranging them on the ground. Called “gesso,” these objects cover the ground of the male’s court, where he displays colorful objects and shows off for potential mates. (from Ars Technica)