As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Nightingales show off their fathering skills through song

Song of male nightingale tells females how good a father he will be, according to research

Date:  June 18, 2015

Source:  BioMed Central

Summary:  The song of the male nightingale tells females how good a father he will be, according to research. The study shows that better singers will feed their offspring more often, and that they advertise this to potential mates by singing in a more orderly way through repeating song sequences, and using more variable song, including many different 'buzz,' 'whistle' and 'trill' songs.

In around 80% of all bird species, males play a key role in raising their young. Male nightingales feed the female during incubation, provide food to chicks and defend the nest against predators. A male's parental skills are therefore likely to be a crucial factor for females when choosing a mate.

Female birds assess paternal qualities on the basis of traits, including plumage coloration and courtship behaviour. In nightingales, it is a male's elaborate nocturnal song prior to pair formation that is presumed to be key in advertising their skills as a father. While male birds are able to sing around 180 different song types, little has been understood on the exact song features that are important.

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