Hummingbirds and rattlesnakes move parts of their bodies at amazing speeds. But male club-winged manakins -- colorful, sparrow-sized South American birds -- have them both beat, vibrating their wings at more than 100 cycles per second, twice the speed of hummingbirds. The bird uses this unprecedented feat not for fight or flight, but to impress females with its violinlike hum...
Manakins are lek-breeding birds, meaning that the males compete to mate, while the females raise the young. Since the males do not couple to raise young, a single male could inseminate all the local females. Therefore, competition for females among lek-breeding birds creates strong pressures for sexual selection.
While other birds make wing sounds -- including other types of manakins, grouse, pheasants, hummingbirds and birds of paradise -- and many of the 40 kinds of manakins have developed wing buzzes, snaps and hums, none of these sexually selected adaptations are as extreme as the club-winged manakin, Bostwick said.
The video documents the amazing wingspeed, but the impressive part is the moonwalking. Skip to the 2:30 mark if you're in a hurry, but it's better to encounter it after the more prosaic prologue. The moonwalk is laugh-out-loud quality humor when you encounter it in the midst of this academic presentation.
Found at Anything and Everything.
Enjoy. And Michael Jackson, we will miss you.