I am reminded of puss moths (surely honorary WEIT cats?!) & their caterpillars that resemble feathers. Could it be that the caterpillars are trying (I use the word advisedly) to look like feathers, & are mimicing the birds?
-fronted parakeets mimic fellow birds to initiate 'conversations
There are not many examples of mimicry in birds or mammals but most of them that do exist fall into the category of aggressive mimicry. Wickler gives the example described by Willis of the rare zone-tailed hawk (). This hawk, which is black, glides in the company of vultures. The wings are long and black, much like a vulture's, and it glides like a vulture. (Peterson's says, "Might be mistaken for soaring Turkey Vulture because of proportions and ".) It does not hover like a hawk. Thus, the hawk mimic looks like a vulture (the model) and tricks the small animal prey into not being fearful of its approach. Clearly, the hawk does not want to be left alone but "wants something" from its mimicry. Look at the pictures below - the zone-tailed hawk is on the left and a black vulture on the right:
Mimicking Birds - LIVE - [ HD ]
Without modern genetic analysis, the Helmeted Woodpecker's evolutionary strategy of mimicking competing birds would have been hidden to science.
The Northern Mockingbird & Other Mimic Birds