"WHEN FASCISM COMES TO AMERICA IT WILL BE WRAPPED IN THE FLAG
AND CARRYING A CROSS." -SINCLAIR LEWIS

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Moonwalking Red-Capped Manakins

The recent death of Michael Jackson prompted one of my favorite bloggers to repost this impressive video of avian courtship behaviour:

Hummingbirds and rattlesnakes move parts of their bodies at amazing speeds. But male club-winged manakins -- colorful, sparrow-sized South American birds -- have them both beat, vibrating their wings at more than 100 cycles per second, twice the speed of hummingbirds. The bird uses this unprecedented feat not for fight or flight, but to impress females with its violinlike hum...

Manakins are lek-breeding birds, meaning that the males compete to mate, while the females raise the young. Since the males do not couple to raise young, a single male could inseminate all the local females. Therefore, competition for females among lek-breeding birds creates strong pressures for sexual selection.

While other birds make wing sounds -- including other types of manakins, grouse, pheasants, hummingbirds and birds of paradise -- and many of the 40 kinds of manakins have developed wing buzzes, snaps and hums, none of these sexually selected adaptations are as extreme as the club-winged manakin, Bostwick said.
You'll have to excuse the clumsy dance moves from the biologist but they're more than balanced out by the smooth moonwalking abilities of these tiny entertaining birds. He, he, he, ooo!

2 comments:

ex DLB said...

A very cool respite from the blog skirmishes. Thanks manakins.

BTW, Douglas has a post up that's a picture from the space station. All I could think was that I had clicked through to brain rage. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

JBW said...

I saw the space pic and thought the same thing, ex DLB. I'm not saying that he was imitating me but it's definitely something I would put up.