Beautiful And Talented: Examining Mating Signal Complexity In Birds-Of-Paradise
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About The Author

Russell Ligon is an evolutionary ecologist at Cornell University.

I am a scientist interested in the causes and consequences of complexity in animal signaling systems. For my Ph.D., I examined dynamic color signaling in chameleons with Kevin McGraw at Arizona State University. I came to the Cornell Lab to work on the unique collection of bird-of-paradise natural history recordings in the Macaulay Library. I examine complexity in animal signals by studying the extreme displays of birds-of-paradise as well as the territory marking and singing behavior of house mice.

                       

Beautiful And Talented: Examining Mating Signal Complexity In Birds-Of-Paradise

The birds-of-paradise are a charismatic, colorful family of birds found primarily on the island of New Guinea. The elaborate plumage of many species from this family have been incorporated into the adornments of the peoples of New Guinea for millennia, and a brief inspection of the ornamental variation across this avian family (Figure 1) provides an obvious answer as to why. Figure 1. Diversity in color and display behavior among the birds-of-paradise (adapted from Ligon et...

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