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.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Banding together to protect the tiny noisy scrub bird — the 'Elvis' of birds



By Gianfranco Di Giovanni and Katie McAllister
A boy band, an island paradise and a private helicopter landing pad sound like things you may associate with rock stars, not a tiny semi-flightless bird.
Once thought to be extinct, noisy scrub birds are native to the south-west and Great Southern regions of Western Australia, and they have more in common with a rockstar than you may think.
The species form song groups of male birds that all sing the same tune.
In the same way bands function, there is a front man, an Elvis-like character, said Abby Berryman, who has studied the birds.
"I called it the sexy song hypothesis," Ms Berryman said.
"There is Elvis and all his impersonators — so you've got the real deal with these really attractive songs and all the impersonators out there trying to copy him, so they can cash in on some of his success."
Ms Berryman spent months recording the songs of noisy scrub birds and found that the male birds formed song groups, with repertoires for defending territory and attracting mates.
"There can be up to 10 males all sharing the same song types, so they average around five song types in their repertoire so all those birds in the group are singing those same shared songs," she said.

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