[10-10-2005 to 12-11-2005]
Biologists Discover Birdlife Barbershop Quartet
University of St Andrews scientists have discovered the bird world’s very own ‘barbershop quartet’.
The team studied the song of plain- tailed wrens in Ecuador and found that the birds live in groups of up to seven, joining together to sing choruses, often continuously for up to two minutes at a time.
According to Professor Peter Slater, who has nearly 30 years’ experience studying bird song, “With the exception of humans, this must be one of the most complicated singing performances ever described in the animal kingdom”.
Dr Nigel Mann and Kimberly Dingess, together with Professor Slater, all from the School of Biology, made this startling find – published on-line in the Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters – as part of a larger study of 22 species of wren, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
see here for further details
contact: Prof Peter Slater