Several recent gimcrack posts have been about the strange mating habits of insects and animals. Today’s wacky sex ritual is brought to you by the Manakin bird.
Male manikins attract partners by a very specialised dance. Their trademark movement is walking backwards along a twig while making it looks as if their feet are walking forwards. While doing this they flap their wings at 160 times per second, losing up to 10% of their body fat in the process.
But the female manikin would not be impressed by this performance if it was done solo. So a dominant male has to recruit an apprentice, teach him the exact same moves and put on the show as a pas de duex.
And here’s how the Twelve-Wired Bird of Paradise does it. “The Wire-Wipe Display is performed by the adult male to best present his flank plumes and his bare pigmented thighs to the female and to use his unique 12 flank plume ‘wires’ to brush across the female’s face and foreparts”
Birds seem to have plenty of luck so perhaps the human male could learn some tips from them. the Amateur Scientist suggests adding a little colour to your life with a marker pen.
“Scientists from Arizona State University wanted to know if sexual attractiveness could increase a male animal’s testosterone levels. So they grabbed a few ugly, light-feathered barn swallows and scribbled on them with a black marker. The result? The newly darkened birds became sexual Adonises.