London, February 16 (ANI): Male great bustards point their white tail feathers to the position of the Sun as part of their courtship displays, suggests a study.
The Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology research found that the large birds lift and point their bottoms towards the Sun to display their white body feathers, thereby becoming more conspicuous and visible to females.
Lead researcher Pedro Olea, a scientist from the IE University School of Biology in Santa Cruz, Spain, and colleagues observed the birds on mating grounds called leks.
The team discovered the male birds resorted to the trick, especially in the morning.
"The displays were more directed towards the Sun when it was most visible," The BBC quoted the researchers as saying in their article.
Dr Tommaso Pizzari, an ornithologist from Oxford University, who was not involved in this study, added: "They raises the interesting possibility that the male birds use the Sun to their advantage - that they have learned to use variation in the environment.
He continued: "These displays are costly for the males - they make them more conspicuous to predators and they have to keep their ornamental (feathers) in good nick.
"But, especially when males display together, and females go to the leks to window shop, they're a huge advantage. That's why we think these puzzling traits evolved and are specific to males." (ANI)