Birds Bend Light to Woo Females

Science, March 2014

When a male Lawes’s Parotia shakes a tail feather, the ladies and the physicists take notice. Living in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, males of the species (Parotia lawesii) wear a coat of velvety black feathers, with the exception of a colorful, shimmering spot on their breast. For their mating display, they head to a patch of sunlight and strut their stuff in a so-called ballerina dance, spreading their feathers like a tutu and shaking their body to shimmer their breast plumage.