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A parasite attack on Darwin’s finches means they’re losing their love-song


A parasite known to infect beaks in some iconic Darwin finches on the Galapagos Islands is changing the mating song of male birds.

Our research, published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reveals how the parasite deforms the beak. This has the effect of weakening the male bird’s mating call, and making it no longer clearly distinguishable from that of other closely related species.

A changed song can have an important effect on the male finch’s ability to find a mate. MORE

Header image: A tree finch with a normal beak and nostril size, so no infection from the parasite. Credit: Katharina J Peters.

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