Birds have some interesting ways to attract attention. Here’s how six birds “flirt.”
King Bird of Paradise
The male king bird of paradise impresses his female counterpart by shifting his feathers into a fan, shaking his wings and spinning two tail wires capped with green disks over his head. He also hangs upside down on a tree branch and swings his body like a pendulum.
The male gentoo stands on his rear flippers and trumpets a mating call. When a female arrives, the two converse loudly and rub their heads together. The male then searches — for hours, days or even weeks — for a perfect betrothal stone (kind of like an engagement ring). If she accepts it, they become a couple.
Flamingos rub “makeup” (an oil from their glands) on their feathers during mating season to make their pinkish color pop even more. Huge groups of the long-legged birds then march in courtship parades. In unison, marchers perform side-to-side head turns, wing-flaps and other moves. After the big show, the most brightly colored birds find mates fastest.
These goofy-looking birds choose mates with the brightest blue feet. When flirting, the male squawks, spreads his wings and displays his feet while strutting past a female. He then brings over nesting twigs and repeats the foot-flashing. If the female is interested, she displays her own feet. Then both birds point their beaks upward and whistle.
The male Vogelkop bowerbird weaves sticks around a small tree to create a cone-shaped house. He painstakingly decorates the arched doorway with a carpet of moss, flowers, fruits, feathers and other natural trinkets. Then he sings a courting song. When a female arrives, he shows off his new home.
Manakins impress with a moonwalk-like backward shuffling move. Courting begins with a male making popping noises with his wings. He then wows a female with airborne flips and dives, followed by the “moonwalk” on a tree branch.