Monday, May 12, 2014

African Songbird Sounds a Fake Alarm to Steal Food

Drongo's, and African songbird imitates other species, including insects to scare them away and steal food
Steal, Cheat and Lie for Food
according to research at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. "They're rather demonic little black birds with red eyes, a hooked beak and a forked tail," says evolutionary biologist, Tom Flower.

researched studied the songbird at the Kuruman River Reserve in the South African Kalahari desert for six months.  It was found that 23% of their food comes from sounding fake signals followed by theft.  Researcher say the birds announce when predators are coming, but also send out fake warnings.  Although all animals eavesdrop on each other's calls, the Drongo sends out fake signals to intentionally deceive.

Other animals are not sure whether the calls are genuine or a rouse, as some animals become aware of the fraud and stop responding to the bird. The tricky Drongo, then selects a different call to deceive.

Drongo in Austraila is slang for idiot, however the name does not fit the intellect.  Red-eyed Drongo's are very bright.  The deception racket is biggest in the winter months when flies aren't around.

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