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The wild courtship moves of the Carola’s parotia

2 minutes

A bird-of-paradise must become a lord of the dance to woo a discerning mate

Far from amateurs on the dancefloor, males of the bird-of-paradise species known as Carola’s parotia practise their moves for hours a day before finally performing for a tough crowd of desirable females in a one-of-a-kind competition. Their nearly predator-free existence on Papua New Guinea has allowed the birds to develop an elaborate courtship dance of jumping, shimmying and shaking that is one of the most complex in the animal world.

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/History of Science
Against citizen science

It might style itself as a grassroots movement but citizen science is little more than a cheap land-grab by big business

Philip Mirowski

Essay/History of Science
Science is broken

Perverse incentives and the misuse of quantitative metrics have undermined the integrity of scientific research

Siddhartha Roy & Marc A Edwards