Bowerbirds inadvertently cultivating flowers
Giving floral gifts to a loved one is a tried-and-tested romantic gesture.
Now British scientists have revealed that bowerbirds in Queensland have been accidentally growing flowers as a side effect of their efforts to attract mates.
Researchers, including academics from the University of Exeter, found high numbers of potato bush plants near the homes of Australian bowerbirds.
They believe the birds are unintentionally growing the brightly coloured plants by gathering them as decorations close to their sites of habitation.
The birds are known for their unique courtship behaviour, where males collect sticks and objects to build a structure called a bower to catch the attention of females.
It is the first evidence of a non-human species growing plants for a use other than food, the scientists say.
Lead researcher Dr Joah Madden says: "We grow plants for all kinds of things, from drugs to clothing to props, that we use in our sexual displays such as roses. But it seems we are not unique in this respect."