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March 21 2016

Rapist birds: PC Ornithologists Argue That Female Birds Look Drabber Than Male Birds To Fight Off Sexual Harassment

Charlotte Allen

When the red red robin comes bob bob bobbin' along...the lady robin ought to charge him with sexual misconduct.

Because, as it turns out, male birds at nesting time, sort of like male humans on college campuses, have their very own rape culture, forcing female birds to do the avian equivalent of the half-shave:

In many animal species, the physical differences between males and females are striking.

While males are decorated with vibrant plumes or large antlers, females commonly have subdued colours and lack ornamental features.

Researchers now say this may be one of the many examples of the great lengths female animals go to avoid sexual harassment from males....

Male peacocks, as a well-known example, are decorated with lavish blue and green plumes that trail behind them and a brightly coloured head.

Females, on the other hand, may have a splash of this colour on their neck, but are mostly neutral, with feathers in dulled brown or white....

Earlier studies have attributed this physical difference to the females’ greater need for camouflage, or suggested it affects reproductive rate, but in a paper published in Animal Behaviour, researchers say a dull appearance may in part be a means of protection.

‘If we accept the premise that males, while not as choosy as females, still exert some choice of mate then the question is why don’t females signal their sexual quality via ornamental sexual traits like males do?’ said Professor Professors David Hosken from the Centre for Ecology & Conservation at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus....

While sexual harassment isn’t the sole explanation for females’ subdued appearances, it is likely a contributing factor.

‘We are not suggesting that male harassment of attractive females is the only explanation for lack of sexual ornamentation in females,’ Hosken says, ‘but want to alert researchers to the idea that this could be a contributing factor.' 

Mmm, time for the World Wildlife Fund to set up some women's shelters for abused peahens. And maybe the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights could get in on the act, requiring a "preponderance of the evidence" standard for kicking daddy birds out out of the nest.

Yes means yes! Believe the victim!

 

 



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