Male Superb Lyrebirds (Menura novaehollandiae) perform an ornate multimodal display immediately following copulation

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Birds perform some of the most elaborate intersexual displays in the animal kingdom, but while these are typically associated with the pre-copulation stage of sexual interactions, the males of some species also display following copulation. Here we report that immediately after dismounting from females, male Superb Lyrebirds Menura novaehollandiae perform a striking multimodal display comprising a repetitive clicking vocalization and a stereotyped tail posture, while walking backwards away from the female. This ubiquitous postcopulatory display constitutes the fourth, structurally distinct multimodal display performed by male Superb Lyrebirds during intersexual interactions and points to a role for sexual selection after copulation in the lyrebird's lek-like mating system. As such, this study highlights an additional and largely overlooked functional context for complex courtship choreography in birds.

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National Science Foundation



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