AttractingMates by Bowerbirds
AttractingMates by Bowerbirds
Attractinga mate in animals remains one of the most enticing topics to study.This comes in line with the unidentified consequences resulting inunknown signalling. The great Bowerbird is known to use thedecoration approach where it arranges them in size with the smallerones being closer to the bower. An important aspect is how every maleis unique in arranging the decorators. Consistency is also the key tothis approach where there is variation in the distance size gradient.However, does the individual consistency in the characteristics ofgradient relate to the male decoration skills or the bower types ofdecoration?
Similarlyto human beings who use different tactics to attract mates, theconcept is identical to animals. Animals mostly make use of thenon-bodily elements to attract their mates. According to recentstudies, males are expected to be in good condition which helps inlocating and transporting aspects that they use to compose theextended phenotypes. To achieve this, cognitive skills are alsorequired. On the other hand, there are setbacks that emanate fromhonest signalling. First, the phenotypes are made from thesurrounding. This, therefore, implies that making the phenotypes isdependent on the environmental conditions (Doerr& Endler, 2015).The implication here is that if there are no sufficient resources toconstruct these signals, then they will be incomplete. An interestingaspect is the time and energy invested in acquiring the signals ifthere are enough resources which are too common. On the other hand,it is essential to consider intra-population variation in a signalform which happens as a result of varying environmental gradient inline with the availability of the suitable objects.
Consideringthe Bowerbirds, attraction of the mate is through the building anddecorating sticky structures called bowers which attract females. Thebower of the great bowerbirds scientifically referred to asPtilonorhynchusnuchalis ismore than one metre in length with more than 1000 decorations. Thewhite and grey decorations are arranged as a background against thered and green ones (Doerr& Endler, 2015).The white and grey decorations are arranged in terms of size with thesmaller ones being close to the entrance of the bower. Notably, thefemale usually sits within the bower. Further, if the decorations arearranged randomly, they may be viewed more as a background pattern.Other studies have indicated that the male vary in the degree towhich they arrange the decorations according to size. This,therefore, implies that varying the distance – size gradient is anhonest signal of the male skills which also reflects on the overallquality of the mate and their cognitive ability. Based on thisinformation the by Doerr& Endler (2015)study conducted an experiment to understand if the individualconsistency in the distance size gradient has a relation with thequality of the male and the type of decoration at the bowers.Considering the field site the gradient characteristics such asgradient evenness and steepness is different among various bowersalong the Burdekin River and Six Mile Creek.
Thefindings of the study were based on several aspects considered in themethodology. Considering the gradient and male characterises andavailability of the decoration it was noted that if the malebowerbirds are given new bower decorations, they are arranged in adistance size gradient in a manner that the smaller decorations arenear the entrance of the bower.There was also an aspect of time inputwhere the males spend 8 days arranging the new decorations. This isin support of the hypothesis that the males arrange the grey andwhite decoration to create a background that is more even consideringthe female point of view. Regarding time, it was noted that the malesspend 70% of it building the bower and arranging the decorations. Thelarger objects are placed at a far distance. In the hypothesis ofdifferences in the male quality explaining the gradientcharacteristics in male varying, this study did not support it. Theresearch suggests that the variation in the male gradientcharacteristics is explained by the difference in the type of bowersand decorations. Another factor as identified by the study is themales creating gradients that resembled the provided decorationsreferred to as the donor bower in the research. Additionally, thedonor bower determined the gradient characteristics. Anotherspeculation by previous studies was based on variation in thegradient characteristics among males reflecting on the differences inthe bids. The studies further noted that males have the ability torecreate their original distance size gradient if there is arearrangement of their decoration. It was further identified that thedifferences in the gradient characteristics among males are primarilyexplained by the bowers and the type of decorations.
Inthe gradient characteristics, signal design and mating success, thecurrent study indicated that the variation among the malesconsidering the distance size gradient is also based on the type ofbowers and decorations (Doerr& Endler, 2015).Common aspect also among this study among others is that the gradientcharacteristics reflect on the ability of the male to transport afterlocating the decorations from the environment instead of their skillsand arranging their decorations. This, therefore, is proof thatcognitive skills play a crucial role in the arrangement of thedecorations.
Inconclusion, male bowerbirds express an enticing approach in regardsto attracting their mates. As identified in the above discussion,these birds use decoration described by various colours such aswhite, grey, green and red. Notably, every bird is unique in thedecoration pattern. Further, the distinction among various malebowerbirds is manifested through the type of decorations and bowers.Essential to note is that the decorations are done based on the sizedistance gradient with the small phenotypes being near the bower.Bowers, in this case, are described as sticky structures which aremore than one meter in length and have at least 1000 decorations.
Doerr,N. R., & Endler, J. A. (2015). Illusions vary because of thetypes of decorations at bowers, not male skill at arranging them, ingreat bowerbirds. AnimalBehaviour, 99,73-82.