These Birds Just Want to Be Hot and Wear Makeup – New York Magazine

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Photo: Markus Varesvuo/Getty Images/Nature Picture Libr

Irrespective of age, address, or financial standing, most of us begin each day pretty much the same. This morning I rolled out of bed, hopped in the shower, and then applied a layer of makeup. Many around the world did the same: be it a beauty editor in New York or bird in Africa, who, as it happens, has gained my utmost respect for its dedication to the fine art of looking ridiculously good-looking.

The Egyptian vulture smears mud on its face to turn its naturally white-to-light-brown feathers a rusty red. This is the bird’s version of wearing makeup, writes New Scientist, adding that the avian makeup enthusiasts don’t appear restricted by sex or age. Although scientists were already aware of this behavior, it was only until recently that the act was caught on camera.

Scientists are still scratching their heads as to why the vultures bother to put on the makeup at all, given that the mud baths serve no obvious utilitarian function. Have they considered sheer vanity?