BOB HIRSHON (host):
The sweet song of a lovelorn penguin…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
During breeding season, a male Adélie penguin builds a nest out of rocks and then calls to attract a mate. Emma Marks, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, wanted to know what makes a penguin call particularly alluring. In a study published in the journal Behaviour, she found that fatter penguins tended to have steadier sounding calls.
EMMA MARKS (University of Auckland):
If you were a female, you could listen to a call and make a good guess as to the condition of the male, and therefore his potential to be a good mate.
A fatter male can incubate an egg for the long periods when his mate is away searching for food. That means a better chance for a chick’s survival – the sign of a good penguin dad. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.