Flyg (Simulavis seraphinianus)


These are flygs in the mating season. Their colour depends on sex: hens and neutrals are gray or brown, while the electric-blue and gold specimen shown here is currently male. The flyg is a favourite prey of predators such as the 'tenterhook', and males are likely to catch the tenterhook's eyes. How can males afford to be so conspicuous?

The reasoning is as follows. The brighter the male mating coat is, the better will it attract females. This was experimentally proven by spray-painting male flygs with even brighter colours. The result is a typical evolutionary conundrum: hens choosing brightly coloured mates will probably have brightly coloured offspring, at a higher risk of being eaten. But if you are bright, conspicuous and yet alive, you must be very fit indeed. So, by choosing brightly coloured males, hens also choose fit ones. Oblivious to such theories flygs enjoy the mating season - and so do tenterhooks.

Flygs are quite beautiful and therefore very popular with avianwatchers. The current males are not conspicuous for very long: each individual sports his colours for a short while only, and afterwards becomes as drab as the current females (they change sex with age, so it's best to add 'current' to gender designations).

A practical word: prepare two flygs per person, or even three if they are to be the main course. Avoid eating breeding males: the hormones make them unsavoury.

Habitat: Open woods, savannah
Distribution: Archipelago
Mass: 0.7 kg
Span: 0.45 m

Flyg silhouet