Plant has evolved a specialist bird perch

New research sheds light on the world’s most specialised bird perch.

The researchers suspect that the vertical, branchless stem of a South African plant – locally called the Rat’s Tail – has evolved to encourage pollinating birds to visit its flowers.

The birds hang upside down from this perch and fertilise the plant when they thrust their beaks into the red flowers to drink nectar.

The international team reports the findings in the Annals of Botany.

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