They may zip around looking cute and sociable, but the world of hummingbirds is rife with aggression. Now it looks like some female hummingbirds have evolved to avoid this – by adopting the bright plumage of their male counterparts.

Nope, they’ve not evolved to avoid this. Natural variation has led to some who look like this to be successful in propagation.

Evolution doesn’t do “to” it does “happenstance”.

3 thoughts on “Causality!”

  1. Good how the Graun’s seems to have got this exactly the wrong way round. Since both males & females have bright plumage when young, most of the females have evolved to have less flashy colouring in later life. Not some evolved to look like males. Word for this is neotenous, no?

  2. Easier explanation, knowing that a lot of hummingbird species don’t have dimorphic plumage at all**:

    The things are stupid, even for birds, and will aggress on anything that doesn’t look like them, including their own females unless the Breeding Time switch is thrown.
    The fact that the chicks and juveniles have the male coloration is a big hint there as well.

    ** How do they figure out who’s female then? Big Momma Fetish.. The females of hummingbirds are the larger ones..

  3. Have them around our house, usually only see one at a time but if there’s 2 (most I’ve seen is 3 at one time) it gets nasty, fascinating to watch though.

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