Thursday, March 07, 2013
Copulation Location Criteria, and Span of Time Plus Where do ducks "do it"?
Photo courtesy http://www.palemale.com/
Pale Male and Octavia copulate on a favored light fixture on The Essex. No matter the mate, she often chooses that particular spot to present herself to Pale Male.
Which gets me thinking about Red-tailed Hawk criteria. They definitely have criteria for nest building as we've discussed before.
What would be the criteria for the spots chosen for copulation?
I would think that having the hawks protected from the rear might be advantageous. In this case by the building.
But the male would still need a route to fly to the female without any undue obstructions.
Though the female will perch at the ready in a place with a somewhat obscured view, I would think part of the male's responsibility would be to make sure there were no intruders to which they would be vulnerable for the limited time Red-tail copulation lasts.
"Treading", to use the archaic term, in the avian specie we most regularly see, is rapid by mammal standards-- often less than 15 seconds.
This makes evolutionary sense as the pair isn't at their most alert against possible attack during these interludes. They are vulnerable during copulation.
Why is it then, in African Grey Parrots for example, copulation between pairs can last comparable periods of time to that in humans?
What is the evolutionary advantage in lengthy copulation for some species and not in others?
I would posit in some species it has to do with building stronger pair bonds.
Hawks go through a lengthy courtship which tests their abilities of flight and of hunting acuity. The coordinated moves of courtship give them time to learn the physical cues their partner displays in flight and changes in flight patterns which will be very important in coordinating defense of the nest later on.
And as only the pair holds the territory they must be ready at any given moment to hold that territory. They can't be off spooning when a concerted attack to take over the nest site occurs.
What characteristics do humans and African Greys have in common?
Both species have a tendency to live near their own kind. Therefore there are other cooperating members of the species who will be "holding the fort" while the pair is entranced with each other for lengthier periods of time?
Both species are intelligent and can talk. Could bonding in both species be linked in some ways to finding pair synchronicity through speech and coordinated movement during lengthy copulation?
My, my, my.
More thoughts on that later...
In the meantime....what about DUCKS?
Photo courtesy of Francois Portmann Mallard Copulation
Of course, ducks do it in the water.
Amazing wildlife photographer Francois Portmann took stunning photographs of Central Park waterfowl in February.
Do check them out.
You will be very glad you did.