Tuesday, 21 February 2012 By: Jenny Vu

#12 The Long Tail feathers of the Widowbird

Every man tries the most outrageous things in order to impress the girls. Well, for a widowbird, the most impressive thing is his tail feathers. There are only a few species of widowbirds and they all live in different parts of Africa. Having long tail feathers for a male widowbird is favoured by females as it suggests that their offspring will not only be good looking, but good looking enough that their offspring will also be able to mate and therefore carry on their genes. This is quite crucial as that is pretty much the basis of the life of any creature, plant or animal.
Source: ibc.lynxeds.com

Males show off their long tail feathers by flying over the grasslands, with their long tails trailing underneath them, as shown in the photo below.

Source: 7-nature.blogspot.com.au
If you want a better idea of what this display looks like, take a look of this video here.

Even though this leaves the bird very much exposed to predators, if this display is successful, the benefits would be far greater as he would be able to pass on his genes. Being able to trail these long feathers, though as inconvenient they may seem, displays to the females the males level of 'fitness' and therefore, whether his offspring would be stronger than those of the other males.

Actually, if you try to look up these birds in google, not much comes up. Maybe they were only recently discovered? Or maybe not that many people know about them.



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