||Tap dancing birds: the multimodal mutual courtship display of males and females in a socially monogamous songbird
Ota, Nao ,
Gahr, ManfredSoma, Masayo
5p.16614 , 2015-11-19 , Nature Publishing Group
According to classical sexual selection theory, complex multimodal courtship displays have evolved in males through female choice. While it is well-known that socially monogamous songbird males sing to attract females, we report here the first example of a multimodal dance display that is not a uniquely male trait in these birds. In the blue-capped cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus), a socially monogamous songbird, both sexes perform courtship displays that are characterised by singing and simultaneous visual displays. By recording these displays with a high-speed video camera, we discovered that in addition to bobbing, their visual courtship display includes quite rapid step-dancing, which is assumed to produce vibrations and/or presumably non-vocal sounds. Dance performances did not differ between sexes but varied among individuals. Both male and female cordon-bleus intensified their dance performances when their mate was on the same perch. The multimodal (acoustic, visual, tactile) and multicomponent (vocal and non-vocal sounds) courtship display observed was a combination of several motor behaviours (singing, bobbing, stepping). The fact that both sexes of this socially monogamous songbird perform such a complex courtship display is a novel finding and suggests that the evolution of multimodal courtship display as an intersexual communication should be considered.