The dangers of display

Sex is a risky business. Courtship, display, combat in rivalry, and copulation are all behaviors that expose the protagonists to predators. For example, bats home in on the ripples produced by calling túngara frogs, as research by Wouter Halfwerk and colleagues showed earlier this year. And it is no surprise that acts of copulation often take place in hidden sites, where the animals’ natural enemies cannot make use of the fact that they can catch them with their trousers down, as it were. The same also applies to males that are engaged in rivalry. In capercaillie grouse, for example, the males often engage in one-to-one territorial defenses. The fact that they are completely absorbed by this reproductively essential behavior, is often abused by the birds’ enemies, which include hunters, but also eagles, as this striking video shows:

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