Peacocks make fake sex noises to attract the attention of females
Male peacocks may have learned that faking a mating call attracts female attention
Peacocks make fake sex noises to attract the attention of females, according to scientists.
The birds have a wide variety of calls, including a distinctive hoot during mating. When a male peacock has successfully attracted a female, it rushes at her while making this noise and attempting to mate.
Scientists have observed male peacocks making this noise when they are out of sight of females.
Despite not being in close proximity to the male, Canadian researchers found females would be attracted to the ‘lek’ or mating area by the sound.
"It's much louder than it needs to be to communicate with just the female that the male is trying to mate with," Dr Roslyn Dakin from the University of British Columbia, Canada, who co-authored the study told the BBC.
Dr Dakins studied birds living freely and unmanaged in zoos and parks across North America.
She found that the birds may have learned that this deception attracts more females.
"We know that sound increases the chance a female will come around and visit the male but what we don't yet know is whether males get any fitness benefit from that," she said.
By faking the mating call, the males could potentially persuade females they are more sexually active and fitter than other males.
The faking males were also the most prolific breeders in the groups.
Surprisingly, a third of all mating calls were ‘faked’, which Dr Dakin described as "astonishing" as the signal could end up being completely ignored by females after hearing it too many times.
"Theory predicts that when faking happens a lot, the receivers should stop listening to the fake signal at all” Dr Dakin said. “So what is it that's allowing this deception to persist at such a high rate?"
Her research will now focus on whether there are any direct reproductive benefits to faking for male peacocks, the BBC has reported.
The study is published in The American Naturalist.
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Russell Brand opposes anti-Semitism after death threats: 'We must disavow all forms of prejudice that lead to exclusion and execution'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...