Planet Earth

Showy Male Birds—You Live Life Like a Candle in the Wind

DiscoblogBy Joseph CastroAug 4, 2011 7:59 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

For male Houbara bustards

, extravagant sexual displays come with a price: rapid sexual aging. By studying over 1,700 North African Houbara bustards

, researchers in France have learned that the birds, by age six, already begin producing smaller ejaculates with a large number of dead and abnormal sperm. The more showy the bustard, the quicker he burns himself out. As lead researcher Brian Preston said in a prepared statement

:

This is the bird equivalent of the posers who strut their stuff in bars and nightclubs every weekend. If the bustard is anything to go by, these same guys will be reaching for their toupees sooner than they'd like.

[Read more about these peculiar birds and see a video of one of their seductive dances at the BBC

.]

Image courtesy of Frank. Vassen / Flickr

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.