‘Flock’ Your Gender Labels: This Bird is Both Male and Female
Photo: picture alliance / Contributor (Getty Images)
The discourse over gender identity is one of the most relevant in today’s society. Many people identify as the opposite sex of the one written on their birth certificates or don’t label themselves at all. And while this might spark heated debates in some circles, there’s one area the argument is null: a bird’s nest.
An ultra-rare cardinal that is both male and female was recently spotted in a Pennsylvania town. The bird is a bilateral gynandromorph, which means half of its body is a guy and the other half is a girl. Split personalities never got so real.
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The birds are also referred to as “half-siders,” if you’re more into plain English. In the case of the video above, the right side of the bird is male while the left is female. This leads Daniel Hooper, a postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, to believe this particular bird might be able to reproduce. The unique part about that is half-siders are typically infertile. Notch one for nature, folks.
From National Geographic:
“This remarkable bird is a genuine male/female chimera,” Hooper said. “Most gynandromorph individuals are infertile, but this one may actually be fertile as the left side is female, and only the left ovary in birds in functional.”
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The bird in the video was also caught engaging in some pre-mating behaviors with another of the species. If the bird’s nest is rocking, don’t come knocking because they’re probably flocking (or something like that).