Notes and shorts from around the world


The world’s noisiest bird
A bird that lives in a remote region of the north-east Amazon has been found to be the loudest in the world, with a song that is roughly as earsplitting as a pneumatic drill. During a research expedition in 2018, biologists from Brazil and the USA used precision audio equipment to record white bellbirds singing from distances of around 40 metres. They discovered that males typically have two songs – one longer and more ornate, the other shorter and more intense. While both are loud, the latter is particularly so: it peaked at 125 decibels – three times louder than the song of the screaming piha (previously the noisiest bird known to science). The song is part of a bizarre mating ritual that involves a male first facing away from a female, then swivelling round and blasting her at full volume into her face. The researchers think this unusual seduction technique may be connected to the ready availability of food in the white bellbird’s mountainous habitat. “Survival is easy enough, so these birds are free to develop traits that, whimsically or not, are attractive to each other,” said Mario Cohn-Haft of the National Institute of Amazonian Research in Brazil, and the lead author of the study.
Lost painting fetches millions
A long lost pre-Renaissance masterpiece, found hanging in the kitchen of a house in northern France, has gone under the hammer in Paris for 24 million Euros, making it the most expensive medieval painting ever sold at auction – and its nonagenarian owner a multimillionaire. Christ Mocked, by the 13th century Florentine painter Cimabue, was spotted by an auctioneer who had been brought in to assess the contents of the woman’s house in Compiègne, in Picardy. She had assumed it was a religious icon with no significant value, and had hung it above her oven’s hot plate.
Mayoral breakthrough
The Colombian capital, Bogotá, has elected its first female mayor, in what is being hailed as an important advancement for both women and LGBT rights in a country long dominated by male elites. Claudia López, 49, a centre-left lesbian ex-journalist, is an anti-corruption campaigner who was briefly forced to leave Colombia six years ago, after exposing the links between politicians and
right-wing paramilitaries.
Jesus saves
A long distance runner who put the slogan “Jesus Saves” on his bib had his life saved by a man called Jesus. Tyler Moon was competing in the Medtronic TC 10 Mile event in Minnesota when he suffered a heart attack. Fortunately, nurse Jesus Bueno was running behind him, and was able to perform CPR.
Bons mots
“The bourgeois are other people.” – Pierre-Jules Renard, French author

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