Male Birds are Either Attractive or Good Singers, Not Both

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A new study has revealed that male birds cannot have it all; it is either the looks or the voice. An English scientist analyzed over 500 species of the flying animals and his research findings showed that the male bird cannot be a good singer and still be pleasant to the eye.

According to Christopher Cooney, a biologist who conducted the research, the birds that have elaborate-colored feathers usually have basic singing skills and those that resemble their female counterparts with less-attractive feathers had bigger and better singing talents.

Together with his colleagues at the University of Oxford, Christopher Cooney started his investigations by comparing the songs and feathers of different species of birds. He started with 518 species of birds, studying each species closely to understand the differences between the males and the females. This helped him to understand the mating process, which is usually triggered by the male species, which attracts the female by showing off its beautiful feathers or its singing ability. The researcher was also able to find out how the mating process has affected the birds and the beauty of their plumage.

The researcher and his team came up with several theories during the study pertaining to why the male birds focused solely on their singing ability and their physical appearance. The first one was that since some birds lived in dense forests, where they could barely see each other, the male birds relied on their singing abilities to attract their female counterparts during the mating season. This theory was however not backed with enough findings.

Another theory that emerged was that since birds’ mating process is quite elaborate, the male birds have been able to develop the singing trait over time to attract their female counterparts. Another finding was that birds have already realized their best trait; therefore there was no need for them to develop another one.

Even after studying different birds’ species for a long time, Cooney and his colleagues have not been able establish the male birds’ most preferred trait during the mating process.