|A pair of great bustards. Note the plumage on the chin of the male (standing). Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.|
A new study, reported here on Science Daily, on the factors that lead to reproductive success of male great bustards (Otis tarda) has suggested that males with more, and longer 'beard plumage' have a greater chance of reproducing. The reasons for this are suggested to be two fold. Firstly, the more 'beard' a bird has, the older and heavier the bird is, hence males who have less 'beard' will not challenge more 'beardy' males for fear of defeat. Secondly, females prefer the more 'beardy' males, seemingly because of their size. There you have it, chicks dig beards. I must be weak because I am 28 and still can't really grow a decent beard. I must have tricked my wife with some other display of virility, and I'm a pretty good cook.