Female color perception affects evolution of male plumage in birds

Female color perception affects evolution of male plumage in birds

The expression of a gene involved in female birds’ color vision is linked to the evolution of colorful plumage in males, reports a new study from the University of Chicago. The findings, published Nov. 26 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, confirm the essential role of female color perception in mate selection and … Continue reading

New bird species discovered in forests of Indonesia

New bird species discovered in forests of Indonesia

An international group of ornithologists from the United States and Indonesia led by Dr Berton Harris of Princeton University has described a new species of flycatcher from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The new species, named the Sulawesi streaked flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii), has awaited formal scientific description since 1997, when it was originally spotted in … Continue reading

Scratching lyrebirds create forest firebreaks

Scratching lyrebirds create forest firebreaks

Australia’s superb lyrebird clears litter and seedlings from the forest floor, reducing the likelihood and intensity of bushfires, new research suggests. The birds’ activity also preserves their preferred habitat of an open forest floor, says fire ecologist, Dr Steve Leonard of La Trobe University . “They’re reducing fuel by their foraging,” he says. “Our hypothesis … Continue reading

Global protection for migratory birds agreed by conservationists

Global protection for migratory birds agreed by conservationists

Two new international agreements have been reached by conservationists to help save migratory bird species across continents. The Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) has agreed a set of guidelines to tackle some of the causes of poisoning and ratified a ground-breaking action plan to save more than 400 bird … Continue reading

Urban ecologist conducts research for the birds

Urban ecologist conducts research for the birds

Dead birds might be the last thing you would think of collecting, but they were the target of a recent campus-based research initiative. This October, six undergraduate students and one professor spent 21 consecutive days searching for newly deceased birds that have crashed into campus buildings. “Window strikes are pretty common. They can survive, but … Continue reading

The flight of the frisky tui

The flight of the frisky tui

New Zealand’s endemic tui (Prosthemadera novaseelandiae) have a tendency to ‘jump the fence’ when looking to breed, a study by Massey University researcher Dr Sarah Wells shows. Tui are known as socially monogamous birds, pairing with only one partner for a breeding attempt, but this study shows the chicks in their nests are often fathered … Continue reading