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.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Female manakins use male mating call when implanted with male hormones

Date:  February 6, 2019
Source:  Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Among the first things that stand out about golden-collared manakins, a bird found in Panama and western Colombia, are the acrobatics of male adults during breeding season. Males also emit a particular call, the 'chee-poo', to attract females. In a new paper published in Animal Behaviour, Smithsonian researchers Ioana Chiver and Barney Schlinger explore the role of androgens -- male hormones -- in the expression of this vocal behavior, by administering testosterone to females and juvenile males.
In previous research by these scientists, testosterone implants motivated juvenile males to perform all the courtship acrobatics of male adults, while females performed some of them. Thanks to video recordings of these behaviors, she was able to extract the vocalizations made by female manakins and juvenile males that were administered testosterone. She then compared them to the vocalizations of untreated females, untreated juvenile males, as well as adult males in the wild.
When implanted with testosterone, female manakins were able to produce the male-specific 'chee-poo' vocalization, while untreated females were not. This may indicate that the neuromuscular systems associated with this mating call are present in the females or that they can be quickly developed in response to a male hormone, such as testosterone.

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