Robo Girl Grouse Woos the Boys, Then Broadcasts Their Secrets

Robo Girl Grouse Woos the Boys, Then Broadcasts Their Secrets

Rene Ebersole
Published: 12/14/2009


There is nothing subtle about a male sage grouse trying to pickup a lady. Take one look at his spiky tail feathers erected, yellow eye combs flashing, and olive green air sacs ballooning from his chest and you will know why Meriwether Lewis and William Clark declared him the “cock of the plains.” But to decipher some of the males’ more subtle courtship cues, scientists studying the birds wanted to plant a pair of eyes and ears right in the center of the action. Who better for the job than a robotic girl grouse? Especially one loaded with full surveillance gear—right down to the camera and microphone she keeps tucked in her cleavage. Apparently, the boys are none the wiser. Robo chick—code name Fembot— has them fooled. Watch as these fellas try their best to solicit her affections. Video from the National Science Foundation’s Science Nation.