Global warming makes mating for birds more difficult

The phenomenon of global warming makes it difficult for birds to mate according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Porto (CIBIO-InBIO). Researchers focused in particular on Tetrax tetrax, also known as the minor bustard or the meadow hen, a species classified as “vulnerable” in Europe.

Males of this species spend the period from April to May in search of females: they tend to stretch upwards, swell their necks and make a strange cry, a sort of puff, also to defend the territory from other males in any sexual competition. The researchers have discovered that the heat is forcing more and more this species of bird to choose, just in the summer period, between the mating and the shelter from the heat and the sun, or the rest, seen that the energy it assimilates is limited and the heat itself can take away a lot of it.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, also mentions the circadian rhythms of this bird evidently influenced by temperature, which consequently influences the mating season of these birds. In addition, the researchers noted that if the average temperature increased, the number of birds that could be seen around during the flirting season decreased in parallel.

Researchers analyzed in particular various areas of the Iberian Peninsula.

According to Mishal Gudka, principal author of the study, this research shows how this global phenomenon related to warming can directly affect the behavioral mechanisms of animals, in this case birds, even in a very important phase such as mating. This is even more true for birds that, in order to mate, put in place extravagant or quite energetic performances, which is evidently not easier in an increasingly hot climate.


Links/Sources:

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221999