Events

Keast Lecture: Exploring the complex visual signals of Australian Bowerbirds


4 May 2012

Professor John A. Endler (Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Deakin University) presents the 2012 Keast Lecture: Exploring the complex visual signals of Australian Bowerbirds.


A bower built and decorated by a male bowerbird
A bower built and decorated by a male bowerbird

'Display homes' were used in nature long before property developers and builders took them on as a sales strategy. Bowerbird males build and decorate bowers which are used only for attracting mates and mating - not to raise young. Also, just like property agents, these show-off male birds use perspective illusions to make things seem bigger than they are! The Bowerbirds do this by placing grey and white objects at a particular distance from the bower entrance. The bigger the object the further away from the entrance it is placed. This placement results in a more even background pattern as seen by the female within the bower. This fascinating behaviour is the only use of forced perspective outside of humans!

Professor John A. Endler has been invited to deliver the Keast lecture in 2012 to describe and explain the perspective illusions used by male Bowerbirds. Professor Endler's main interest is in the interaction between ecology, evolution, neuroethology and behaviour. He recently moved from the University of Exeter to Deakin University, as a founding member of the Centre for Integrative Ecology.

This event is hosted by Professor Robyn Overall on Friday 4 May 2012.


Time: 1-2pm

Location: Old Geology Lecture Theatre, A11