Population of female hummingbirds ‘avoiding harassment by looking as flashy as males’

Jacobin hummingbirds in Panama are successfully disguising themselves to enjoy a quieter life, reports Harry Cockburn

Thursday 26 August 2021 19:46
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<p>A female white-necked Jacobin hummingbird being released after capture and tagging</p>

A female white-necked Jacobin hummingbird being released after capture and tagging

Due to the wonders of sexual selection, in the bird world bright colours are almost exclusively worn by the blokes.

While female birds can benefit from less flashy feathers – for example camouflage when hiding from predators and incubating eggs – the key driver of the males’ more vibrant wardrobe is attracting a mate, danger be damned.

However, new research suggests that among certain species, these differences between male and female birds’ plumage can mark out the females for unwanted attention from aggressive males.

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