NEWS

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Hummingbirds evolved a strange taste for sugar ScienceNews (Science paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Group foraging in little penguins ScienceDaily ( PLoS ONE paper) Selected by R Jovani
Mixed Genes Mix Up the Migrations of Hybrid Birds ScienceNewsline (Ecology Letters paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Dinosaurs 'shrank' regularly to become birds BBC (Science paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Parrot Who Was Among Last of Its Kind, Said to Have Inspired ‘Rio,’ Dies National Geographic Society Selected by JL Alcantara
Researchers declassify dinosaurs as being the great-great-grandparents of birds Phys.org (Journal of Ornithology paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Pristine fossil confirms Archaeopteryx as original bird United Press International (Nature paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
All gone: How erasing billions of birds shocked us Yahoo! News (PNAS paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Plants hitch a lift on migrating birds BBC Nature (PeerJ paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Mapping the evolution of a ring species Univ. British Columbbia (Nature paper) Selected by R Jovani
Closest Living Relative of Ancient Elephant Bird Is Tiny LiveScience (Science paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Identifying evolutionary distinct birds WIRED (Current Biology paper) Selected by R Jovani
Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin Myriad Birds Selected by JL Alcantara
The 100 most distinct and rare birds BBC Nature (Current Biology paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Hummingbird Evolution Soared After They Invaded South America 22 Million Years Ago ScienceNewsline (Current Biology paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Bird’s Extinction Is Tied to the Arrival of Humans The New York Times (PNAS paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
A bird-like dinosaur called “Chicken from Hell” NPR news (PLOS One paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Wintering irruptions of Snowy owls in North America and Europe (in Spanish) SEO/BirdLife blog Selected by R Jovani
Punk Amazon pheasant is a European emigrant NewScientists (Naturwissenschaften paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Flights of Fancy in Avian Evolution American Scientist Selected by JL Alcantara Why do birds fly in a V? Endangered ibis reveals its amazing secret (VIDEO) Los Angeles Times (Nature letter) Selected by J Broggi
Sharp-toothed tigerfish jumps to eat a bird (VIDEO) (J Fish Biol paper) Nature News Selected by J Broggi
On the evolution of bird fingers. PHYS.ORG (J Exp Zool paper) Selected by R Jovani
Albatross colony shows benefits of same-sex pairing ABC Science (J Proceedings of the Royal Society B paper) Selected by JL Alcantara Swifts stay airborne for six months at a time New scientist(Nature communications paper) Selected by J Broggi
100 years ago bird lovers were encouraged to use the field glasses rather than the gun The Guardian Selected by R Jovani
Trees send distress signals that birds use to find insects Sinc(Ecol Lett paper) Selected by R Jovani
I’m singing in the rainforest Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (journal of interdisciplinary music studies paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
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Colonizing songbirds lost sense of syntax e! Science News (Current Biology paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
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Collision Course ScienceNews (ScienceNews paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Social learning of migratory performance PhysOrg (Science paper) Selected by R Jovani
Evolution of parasitic egg colouration: parasites also select. Not Exactly Rocket Science blog(Biol Lett paper) Selected by R Jovani
European birds adjust their flight initiation distance to road speed limits BBC News(Biol Lett paper) Selected by R Jovani
The secret of male beauty (in turkeys) UCL News (PLOS Genetics paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Bird hunters 'emptying Afghan skies' BBC News Asia Selected by JL Alcantara
Secrets of the world’s toughest little bird Griffith U. News (Nature Communications paper) Selected by JL Alcantara Outdoor Cats: Single Greatest Source of Human-Caused Mortality for Birds and Mammals American Bird Conservancy (Nature communications paper) Selected by J Broggi
Hiding in plain sight: New species of bird discovered in capital city e! Science News (Forktail paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Foraging space partitioning without territoriality in a seabird ScienceDaily (Science paper) Selected by R Jovani
Bird extinction leads to rapid evolution of seed size The Red Notebook (Science paper) Selected by R Jovani
Bird song changes in translocated birds ScienceDaily (J Appl Ecol paper) Selected by R Jovani
Why penguins lost their wings ABC Science (PNAS paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Simulated patternity uncertainty: Males care about intruders but feed nestlings regardless of patternity uncertainty ScienceDaily (PLoS ONE paper) Selected by R Jovani
Seabird Bones Reveal Changes in Open-Ocean Food Chain Science Daily(PNAS paper) Selected by F Mateos-Gonzalez
New fossil brings new light on the evolution of hummingbirds and swifts Science NOW(Proc R Soc B paper) Selected by R Jovani
Testosterone vs. audience on the regulation of bird fights and social status ScienceDaily (Hormones and Behavior paper) Selected by R Jovani
Lead bullet fragments poison rare US condors BBC News Selected by JL Alcantara
Avoiding cuckoo parasitism by breeding indoors Live Science(Beh Ecol Sociobiol paper) Selected by R Jovani
Why I study duck genitalia... or... why basic science matters Slate Selected by R Jovani
A study about play in cranes BBC Nature(Ibis paper) Selected by R Jovani
Pretty great tits make better mothers Discover (Frontiers in Zoology paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Humans wiped out Pacific island birds ABC Science (PNAS paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
The Rise and Fall of Four-Winged Birds Not Exactly Rocket Science (Science paper) Selected by R Jovani
Sex role reversal: Female shorebirds rule the roost BBC News (Nature Communications paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Birds communicate their size through song ScienceDaily(PLoS ONE paper) Selected by R Jovani
How Birds of Different Feathers Flock Together ScienceDaily (Animal Behaviour paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
The Owl Comes Into Its Own The New York Times-Science Selected by JL Alcantara
On the evolution of UV vision in birds ScienceDaily(BMC Evol Biol paper) Selected by R Jovani
A great tit predating upon a common redpoll (video; Finnish) Ilta Sanomat Selected by R Jovani
Killing Barred Owls To Save the Spotted Owl CNN Selected by JL Alcantara
New dinosaur fossil challenges bird evolution theory e! Science News (Nature paper) Selected by JL Alcantara
Fractal geometry of a plumage pattern changes with physical condition in partridges ScienceNow(Proc R Soc B paper) Selected by I Galván
As Andean condors decline, tradition draws critics Reuters Selected by JL Alcantara





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Friday, 3 April 2009

Fight and coordination in bird duets

The pairs of some bird species, as the Hypocnemis peruviana, sing together performing duets (listen here). Sometimes, the male and the female are well coordinated (sonogram A and B) but other times the duet is much more complex and overlapped (C and D). Nathalie Seddon Joseph Tobias did a study in Peru in order to understand how duets are created by means of experiments with 17 pairs. Different situations were simulated with speakers: the intrusion of a nearby couple, and the intrusion of an unpaired female. They saw that couples reacted doing coordinate duets when they thought that a rival couple was approaching. However, when an unpaired female approached to the pair the female of the couple tried to jam the song of her own partner, and the male tried to escape from her interference (D). This fight created more overlapped and complex duets.


My point of view:
The more we know about birds the more things we discover that we have in common! This is not only an easy joke because of the “war of the sexes” of this paper… recent scientific discoveries point in this direction. One can think that this is one more instance of our way of looking animals as humans. However, this is not true among researchers who have had traditionally a real fear to seem anthropocentric on the interpretation of animal behavior. However, I think that this is changing thanks to new discoveries. For instance, current knowledge on bird cognition (well reviewed in this Science review) suggests that birds have equal or even higher cognitive power than many mammals that we think very clever because being phylogenetically closer to us such as chimps. A recent example was published in PLoS Biology (see free-paper here) where it was demonstrated that magpies (Pica pica) can recognise themselves in a mirror (see videos here). I think that in coming years more and more evidence will accumulate about the convergence on the cognitive traits and the behaviour of birds and mammals (included humans). If you have closely observed a dog or a crow you already know what I am talking about.

> Tobias, J.A. & Seddon, N. 2009. Signal jamming mediates sexual conflict in a duetting bird Current Biology 19: 1-6
> Foto by Joseph Tobias

----------------- Català --------------------------

Lluita y coordinació en els duets dels ocells

Hi ha espècies d’ocell com el Hypocnemis peruviana en les que els dos membres de la parella canten formant duets (escoltar aquí). A vegades el mascle i la femella es coordinen perfectament en el moment del cant (sonogrames A i B) i d’altres vegades el cant és molt més complexe i solapat (C i D). Joseph Tobias Nathalie Seddon van fer un estudi a Perú per entendre com es creen aquests duets fent experiments amb 17 parelles. Van simular dues situacions amb altaveus: la intrusió d’una parella veïna, i la intrusió d’una femella desaparellada. El que van veure es que les parelles reaccionaven coordinant-se quan s’apropava una parella intrusa. Però quan s’apropava una femella desaparellada la femella de la parella intentava interferir amb el seu cant el cant de la seva parella, i el mascle intentava evadir-se’n (D), creant així cants més complexes i solapats.

El meu punt de vista:

Com més coneixem els ocells més coses trobem en comú amb les persones! Això no és només una broma fàcil sobre la "guerra dels sexes" d’aquest article... descobriments científics recents apunten en aquest sentit. Hom pot pensar que això és un exemple més de la nostra forma (errònia) de veure els animals com si fossin éssers humans. Tanmateix, això només és cert entre el públic en general… de fet, jo crec que entre els científics hi ha molta por en semblar antropocèntric quan s’interpreta el comportament dels animals. Però crec que, poc a poc, aquest prejudici es va diluint… per exemple, els coneixements actuals sobre el poder cognitiu de les aus (veure aquí una bona revisió a Science) suggereixen que algunes aus tenen igual o fins i tot major poder cognitiu que molts mamífers com els ximpanzés (que suposem més intel•ligents perquè estan filogenèticament més a prop de nosaltres). Un exemple recent és el publicat en PLoS Biology (vegeu l’article aquí), on es va demostrar que la garsa (Pica pica) es reconeix davant del mirall (veure videos aquí). Jo crec que en els propers anys més i més estudis ens aniran descobrint com de convergent és l’evolució de molts trets cognitius i comportaments dels ocells i els mamífers (inclosos els humans). Si has observat detingudament un gos o un corb sabràs de què estic parlant.

> Tobias, J.A. & Seddon, N. 2009. Signal jamming mediates sexual conflict in a duetting bird. Current Biology 19: 1-6
> Fotografia de Joseph Tobias

----------------- Español --------------------------

Lucha y coordinación en los duetos de las aves

Hay algunas especies de aves como el Hypocnemis peruvian en las que ambos miembros de la pareja cantan formando duetos (escuchar aquí). Unas veces el macho y la hembra se coordinan perfectamente (sonogramas A y B) y en otras ocasiones el canto se vuelve mucho más complejo y solapado (C y D). Joseph Tobias y Nathalie Seddon realizaron un estudio en Perú para entender cómo se crean estos duetos. Para ello llevaron a cabo experimentos con 17 parejas simulando dos situaciones con grabaciones: 1) la intrusión de una pareja vecina, y 2) la intrusión de una hembra desemparejada. Descubrieron que las parejas reaccionaban coordinándose cuando se acercaba una pareja intrusa. Pero cuando se acercaba una hembra desemparejada la hembra de la pareja intentaba interferir con su canto el canto de su macho, y este cambiaba su comportamiento procurando evadirse de las interferencias de su conyugue (D), creando duetos más complejos y solapados.


Mi punto de vista:
Cuanto más sabemos de las aves más descubrimos que tenemos mucho en común! Esto no es sólo una broma fácil sobre la "guerra de los sexos" de este artículo... descubrimientos científicos recientes apuntan en este sentido. Tras leer este trabajo, uno puede pensar que esto es un ejemplo más de nuestra forma de ver los animales como si fueran seres humanos. Pero en realidad creo que esta actitud tan humana no la toman los científicos… de hecho, en la comunidad científica siempre ha habido mucho miedo a parecer antropocéntrico al interpretar el comportamiento animal. Pero este miedo parece que se va diluyendo con la incorporación de nuevos descubrimientos. Por ejemplo, los conocimientos actuales sobre el poder cognitivo de las aves (ver aquí una revisión publicada en Science) sugieren que las aves tienen igual o incluso mayor poder cognitivo que muchos mamíferos que suponemos más inteligentes como son los chimpancés (por ser filogenéticamente más cercanos a nosotros). Un ejemplo reciente es el publicado en PLoS Biology (véase artículo aquí), donde se demostró que las urracas (Pica pica) son capaces de reconocerse en un espejo (ver video aquí). Concluyendo, creo que en los próximos años serán cada vez más los estudios que pongan de manifiesto las convergencias evolutivas de muchos caracteres cognitivos y comportamentales en aves y mamíferos (incluidos nosotros, los humanos). Si alguna vez has observado con detenimiento a un perro o a un cuervo ya sabes a que me estoy refiriendo.

> Tobias, J.A. & Seddon, N. 2009. Signal jamming mediates sexual conflict in a duetting bird Current Biology 19: 1-6
> Fotografía de Joseph Tobias


Tobias, J., & Seddon, N. (2009). Signal Jamming Mediates Sexual Conflict in a Duetting Bird Current Biology DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.02.036


ResearchBlogging.org


Tobias, J., & Seddon, N. (2009). Signal Jamming Mediates Sexual Conflict in a Duetting Bird Current Biology, 19 (7), 577-582 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.02.036

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