Species all across the animal kingdom display a variety of courtship rituals. Usually, these consist of the males working hard to attract the attention of females through sound, strength, construction skills, fighting prowess, or simply dashingly good looks. This is particularly true among birds, which employ an extraordinary range of methods for impressing the opposite sex. Here we will learn about the courtship rituals of birds and why they do so.
Why do birds use courtship behavior?
Courtship behavior is primarily used to attract a receptive mate. Birds will perform a variety of displays in order to demonstrate strength and health. This allows for the potential mate to ensure that they are selecting the best of the best! Once a potential mate has been established, these strange behaviors can also let suitors know that their mate is spoken for.
Types of courtship
Singing: This ritual is by far the most noticeable behavior exhibited by birds come spring. The intricacy and variety of song shows a potential mate the degree of maturity and intelligence. Males will often be seen singing to attract the attention of a female.
Displays or Dancing: Physical movements and dancing such as wing flaps and head dips are used to attract attention. In some species only the males will perform and the females will observe.
Touching and Preening: While most bird species preen their feathers several times a day to keep them healthy, preening can also be used in courtship. Mutual preening or allopreening is used in courtship to bond mating pairs.
Feeding: Males will sometimes be seen offering potential mates food in order to show that they can provide for a family. Some birds can even be seen placing food inside their mate’s mouth. This is thought to prove to the mate that they can directly feed nestlings.
Building: In some species the construction and decoration of nests with pebbles, moss and flowers can also be seen during courtship rituals in order to attract the eye of a potential mate.
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Video source: Wild Zilla