Dance duet helps tropical male birds woo females

February 16th, 2009 - 2:34 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 16 (ANI): Tropical male birds employ a friend in a number of song and dance routines to woo females, according to a new study.

The dance, dubbed backwards leapfrog, was filmed in Costa Rica by zoologists from the University of Wyoming.

At first glance, it appears like a competitive dance-off but in fact it is a co-operative pact between buddies.

Dr David McDonald, of Wyoming University, found that long-tailed manakins employ a wingman to help them find a mate.

To attract females, the pair performs an elaborate song-and-dance routine, even though only the more dominant male ever gets to mate.

Meanwhile, his wingman spends five years playing second fiddle. But he eventually inherits the mating site.

“As far as I know it is the only example of male-male [mating] co-operation in the animal kingdom,” the BBC quoted him, as telling delegates at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Chicago.

“The male birds” partnership lasts up to five years. During that time, the beta male does not copulate.

“He has to wait until alpha male dies - he doesn”t kick him out. So he may be waiting until he’’s 10, 15 or even older,” he added.

The wingman may be equally as good at dancing as the alpha.
Nevertheless, he agrees to forego sex and let his buddy take the spoils.

In return, he will eventually inherit the mating site and become the alpha himself. (ANI)

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