Curious Reasons: Some Birds Like to Be Watched While Having Sex
The blue-headed cordon bleu has a peculiar mating ritual, with the right dance that looks like tap dance, and is not intimidated if it has an audience – on the contrary.
No such shyness. If you have an audience, the little birds do the fussy type, they do not save efforts and they fancy in the performance at the time of singing, of the dance, of all the ritual of mating. And if the audience is formed only by females, for example, the male usually exalts himself even more – or the opposite: for a male audience, the female is the most displayed.
Researchers at the University of Hokkaido in Japan and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany, according to a study in this week’s issue of the journal Science Advances.
They analyzed the behavior of the bird Uraeginthus cyanocephalus, the blue-headed cordon, a passerine of the estrildidae family, of cantor behavior, native to African countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia, and Tanzania.
This bird was chosen by the study because it has a very peculiar ritual of mating, with the right to a dance that looks like a tap dance.
“We do not know of any other species capable of making such rapid movements with the feet. However, males of all species of estrildidae, that is, of the family estrildidae, which has about 135 species, do some kind of dance, swings, as they sing for the mating ritual, “researcher Masayo Soma of the Department of Biology at Hokkaido University told BBC News.
To analyze the behavior of the animals, the researchers placed the couples in both non-hearing and non-hearing environments.
“We observe that both males and females exhibit super-fast tap dancing during the procession, especially when they want to announce their rite to viewers,” Soma points out.
Cordon-bleu – blue-capped cordon-bleu does a peculiar mating ritual, with the right to dance similar to tap dancing.
“There are two types of people: those who hide their intimate life, their courtship, and have a behavior conducive to betrayal, and those who publicly assume their romance, their marriage, the cordon-bleus are the last,” the researcher compares. The cordon-bleu has monogamous behavior.
“This is quite surprising because, in the wild, acrobatic dances are generally meant to get the attention of other potential partners. In the case of this bird, it’s to show loyalty to your particular partner.”
Soma believes that the study adds new insights into the communicative complexity of birds, a field with much yet to be researched.
The researchers concluded that in the case of this species, ritual acts as a way to announce to the entire “community” that the couple is formed, it is united. Pretty much an engagement party.
And scientists believe that this manifestation reinforces the bond between male and female, making them stay together for life.
That is to say, by following this analogy, by renewing the ritual for the audience, it is as if they are from those couples who celebrate “wedding” parties to celebrate 10 years of marriage, 15 years of marriage, and so on.
Fame and pride
Soma says that the team ended up concluding that two reasons for this oba-oba realized by the cordon-bleus when the courtship occurs in public.
In addition to the question of showing loyalty to the partner – being “good to build a relationship of trust and protecting the partner from harassment of rivals”, as the researcher points out – there is also a social aspect that would be in the image created by each individual.
“In these courtship exhibitions, in front of the others, the bird announces that it is healthy, of good living quality – and that it is successful as a potential mating partner,” he explains.