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Fluorescence Makes for a Pretty Bird, Study Finds
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Brightly colored feathers and clever mimicry make parrots appealing to people, but it takes a genuinely sexy glow to get other parrots excited, researchers said on Thursday.
The research, done by British and Australian researchers, show the birds look to fluorescent feathers
when choosing mates.
Kathryn Arnold of the University of Glasgow in Scotland and colleagues at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia studied budgerigars, or budgies, a type of parakeet.
Birds are known to be able to see fluorescence in daylight, unlike humans, who need a little extra boost from an ultraviolet light to see the glowing wavelengths.
Arnold’s team tested the theory that birds may use both kinds of color in their mating. They used budgies that have bright yellow and fluorescent feathers on their crowns and cheeks.
Some of the birds got a coating of sunscreen to block the ultraviolet reflections, while others got simple petroleum jelly.
Both male and female budgies were much more likely to flirt with members of the opposite sex whose alluring radiance was not blunted by the sunscreen, the researchers report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.
The fluorescent colors are expensive, biologically speaking, to produce, so could be a good pointer for picking the fittest possible mate, Arnold’s team wrote.
Fluorescence Makes for a Pretty Bird, Study Finds
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Brightly colored feathers and clever mimicry make parrots appealing to people, but it takes a genuinely sexy glow to get other parrots excited, researchers said on Thursday.
The research, done by British and Australian researchers, show the birds look to fluorescent feathers when choosing mates.
Kathryn Arnold of the University of Glasgow in Scotland and colleagues at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia studied budgerigars, or budgies, a type of parakeet.
Birds are known to be able to see fluorescence in daylight, unlike humans, who need a little extra boost from an ultraviolet light to see the glowing wavelengths.
Arnold’s team tested the theory that birds may use both kinds of color in their mating. They used budgies that have bright yellow and fluorescent feathers on their crowns and cheeks.
Some of the birds got a coating of sunscreen to block the ultraviolet reflections, while others got simple petroleum jelly.
Both male and female budgies were much more likely to flirt with members of the opposite sex whose alluring radiance was not blunted by the sunscreen, the researchers report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.
The fluorescent colors are expensive, biologically speaking, to produce, so could be a good pointer for picking the fittest possible mate, Arnold’s team wrote.
Fluorescence Makes for a Pretty Bird, Study Finds
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Brightly colored feathers and clever mimicry make parrots appealing to people, but it takes a genuinely sexy glow to get other parrots excited, researchers said on Thursday.
The research, done by British and Australian researchers, show the birds look to fluorescent feathers when choosing mates.
Kathryn Arnold of the University of Glasgow in Scotland and colleagues at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia studied budgerigars, or budgies, a type of parakeet.
Birds are known to be able to see fluorescence in daylight, unlike humans, who need a little extra boost from an ultraviolet light to see the glowing wavelengths.
Arnold’s team tested the theory that birds may use both kinds of color in their mating. They used budgies that have bright yellow and fluorescent feathers on their crowns and cheeks.
Some of the birds got a coating of sunscreen to block the ultraviolet reflections, while others got simple petroleum jelly.
Both male and female budgies were much more likely to flirt with members of the opposite sex whose alluring radiance was not blunted by the sunscreen, the researchers report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.
The fluorescent colors are expensive, biologically speaking, to produce, so could be a good pointer for picking the fittest possible mate, Arnold’s team wrote.

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