Understanding bird courtship can help birders better appreciate the challenges birds face in finding the best mates to raise the next generation. From elaborated dancing and unusual poses, remarkable song and flamboyant plumage, bird courtship is very noticeable and can be enchanting to watch. Wetland wildlife, Practise your ID skills with our guide to bird calls. Robin, wren, blackbird and song thrush all sing their hearts out in order to maintain their breeding territories. However, good looks only get you so far: a male newt also needs the right moves in order to win over a partner. The first is the confident male who undergoes a dramatic plumage transformation once the breeding season arrives: they sport brightly-coloured head tufts, an orange face, a black breast and a large ‘ruff’ of ornamental white feathers that give the bird its English name. It’s hard not to be enchanted by the great crested grebes’ courtship dance. If you’re happy with that, just carry on as normal (, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) - Africa, How Balkan botanists saved a threatened oak and are planting thousands more, Paperclip-sized tracker reveals intrepid journey of UK’s smallest seabird, Great Ethiopian Run 2020 supports bird conservation in Ethiopia, Press release: European Parliament votes to ban lead ammunition. These behaviors often include ritualized movement ("dances"), vocalizations, mechanical sound production, or displays of beauty, strength, or agonistic ability. Wildlife courtship displays can be dazzling to watch. Although flamingos are socially monogamous, pairs only stay together for the duration of a single breeding season. Fun fact: The pattern of black spots on a great crested newt is as unique as a fingerprint, making it possible to tell individuals apart. Potential pairs soar up to high altitude, lock talons, and then go into freefall, clutching each other in a death grip as they cartwheel towards Earth. But long-term partners also have suites of moves and calls that help male and female reestablish their relationship after often … It’s something you might have noticed from home as the smaller songbirds show off their song range to impress the ladies. In most bird species, the males are the flamboyant sex, and the females are the ones who do the choosing. During late spring, male newts grow impressive crests and a large silver-striped tail to woo their female targets. Where to see it: WWT Slimbridge, Caste Espie, Arundel, Llanelli, London, Washington. In ‘exploded leks’, the males remain out of the line of sight of their competitors (but within earshot), calling out to try to entice a female into evaluating his display. Seabirds and shorebirds perform aerial displays and courtship feeding, often flying together above the colonies or the nest-site and sometimes with a fish in the female’s bill. Practise your ID skills with our guide to bird calls. The commonest garden courtship you might see is the male wood pigeon, puffing up his breast feathers in order to impress his female. Without wetlands, many of our species would not have a setting for their dazzling displays or be able to raise the vulnerable offspring who result from it. Courtship behavior can include things like food delivery, dance moves (displays), and mutual preening. One bird, usually the male, performs flight displays in the air, while the female looks at him before sometimes to join him. Please donate to our Quest for a safer nest appeal. She has brighter plumage and is larger than male. Tag: bird courtship displays Old Friends. These aerial displays are often spectacular, especially in raptors which fly together over the territory and in the vicinity of the nest-site. The birds that perform the most complex dance manoeuvres are more likely to convince others that they have accrued the experience and ability to raise their hatchlings  – in the same way that a songbird with a wider variety of tunes shows that it has the skills to hold down its territory.