But new studies have revealed a second and more vicious type of imitation performed by the alien bird: imitating the voices of other predators in order to force the female to sex.
While male larvae were known to produce complex mating conversations, staff at the Australian National University found that birds used secondary conversation during sex as a means of deception.
The male larval bird uses a technique called mixed-type mixed bands to simulate the sounds of multiple predators to trick females into thinking it is unsafe in other environments and staying with the male.
The study found that the sounds are heard if a female tried to leave the male without mating, or as a way to prolong the act itself.
Lead writer Dr. Anastasia Delcher said the male singer bird used the bustle bands as a sensory trap.
“Imitation when women’s attempts to leave may be like saying ‘it’s dangerous outside, stay,’ while imitation during copying may prolong the time, like saying ‘freeze,’ and make sure the semen is transferred,” Dr. Dalcher said.
“The context is that the male is trying to prevent her from ending the sexual interaction too soon.”
As part of the hustle and bustle, it has been found that the bird of prey mimics the sounds of multiple species at once. Dr. Dalrari said that while the researchers originally intended to observe the wild birds in the wild, they were surprised by the mass herd technique.
“It was completely unexpected to have such observations and it was difficult to explain at first,” she said. “There was not much there in terms of other species that would help understanding, since most birds do not make any sound during copying.”
While researchers initially thought the technique might be a one-time phenomenon, birdwatching around the Blue Mountains in NSW confirmed that it was more common than they thought.
“Before copying, the male produces his pre-mating display, which is a great and coordinated song and dance display and he sings an original song without imitations,” Dr. Dalcher said.
“Once they got on the female, they made the hustle and bustle and it lasted for years. The herds of mules lasted 45 seconds and most of the songbirds mate in less than two seconds.”
Researchers hope to determine how females respond to real robbery gangs and also imitate.
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