News Release

Captivating courtship: Leaping for love

Paul C. Mundinger Distinguished Lectureship open to all on October 25

Meeting Announcement

Cornell University

Blue-black Grassquit image


Blue-black Grassquit. 

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Credit: David Monroy Rengifo, Macaulay Library, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

It's tough to catch the eye of a potential mate when you’re dressed all in black with no fancy feathers to jiggle around. But a tiny bird called the Blue-black Grassquit has found a way. Learn about this fascinating species during the 2023 Paul C. Mundinger Distinguished Lectureship presented by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Mundinger lecture is being held on October 25, at 5:30 p.m. in room B25, Warren Hall, on the Cornell University campus. The lecture is free and open to the public. This is an in-person and virtual event.

The lecture will be delivered by Regina H. Macedo from the Universidade de Brasilia (University of Brasilia). She has been studying the Blue-black Grassquit for decades, peeling apart the influences that resulted in the bird's energetic courtship leaps.
"Natural and sexual selection, habitat, and predation pressure, all played a role in the development of this behavior," Macedo said. "But the choices made by female birds are what really drive this courtship tactic. Repeated leaps are costly in terms of the energy it takes, but we've also discovered that it's surprisingly flexible."
The Blue-black Grassquit is found throughout Mexico, Central, and South America.

During the last 30 years, Macedo has published more than 100 research papers and books. Her contributions to ornithology have been recognized with awards from the American Ornithologists' Union and the Association of Field Ornithologists. She hopes to inspire young Latin Americans to pursue research careers and get involved in conservation in the Neotropics.
This lectureship was established in honor of the late Paul Mundinger, who received his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University.
The Mundinger lecture will also be streamed live via Zoom and Facebook.

Register for the virtual lecture:

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