With Valentine’s day just around the corner, love is well and truly in the air, making it the perfect time to explore the crazy and kooky ways our feathered friends express it. Bird Buddy, the world’s first smart bird feeder, have brought us the best, from jealous power couples to vomit kisses and water ballet, to show you these wonderfully delightful antics.
1 The way to a bird’s heart is through its stomach
Some decisions are best made with a full stomach, a fact kingfishers know well. To woo their beloved, they catch a fish and store it inside their mouth. When the time is right, they present the fishy offering. Aside from a cute gesture this shows the female that her mate can provide for her.
Bonus points for theatricality!
2 Home is where the heart is
In blue tit pairs the female builds the nest, furnishing it with moss, straw, grass, hair and wool. However, male blue tits believe homes need beauty as well as functionality. When the female is done building the place, males decorate it with feathers, sticking them on the nest or making a neat pile in the corner or just outside.
3 Power couples
Ravens mate for life but aren’t so keen on others doing the same. In raven society, breeding couples top the social – pun intended – pecking order, while single ravens languish beneath. If a power couples spies two single birds getting cozy, they disrupt the coupling to protect their social status, consequently keeping more territory and food resources for themselves and their babies.
4 Gender bending
Strong dominant females are not unusual in the animal kingdom, lionesses for example and praying mantises. With birds, however, it is generally the males singing, defending territory and generally being bigger and louder. Not so with African black coucals. Males mate exclusively with one female and are stay-at-home dads, incubating the eggs and providing all parental care. Females are larger, mate with several males and are also the ones you can hear singing from the treetops, be it to attract a new mate or defend territory.
5 Kiss and… vomit?
Kissing is rare in the animal kingdom – but it is a thing in bird world. White-fronted parrots, for example, are always up for a smooch, one of the few animals to do so. Pairs exchange long kisses, smushing beaks together and are even up for a bit of Frenching – ooh la la. When things get heated, males finish the passionate exchange with a unique “gift” – but not what you think. Males regurgitate food into the female’s mouth, combining a make–out session with a yummy meal.
6 All’s fair in love and throat bursting
Elaborate mating displays are the norm among birds, but some are much stranger than others. Male frigatebirds have a big red pouch on their neck that they inflate like a balloon and drum on to attract females. Size, it seems, matters, as the bigger the pouch, the more successful the performance. This enrages less well-endowed males who often try to amend the anatomical disadvantage by confronting rivals and trying to burst the other’s throat pouch.
7 Grebe lake
When it’s mating time, crested grebes engage in a display that would put Strictly’s dancers to shame. First, they approach each other, mimicking the other’s movements, elegant long necks making the display all the more spectacular. This intricate ritual finishes with the pair running-dancing across the water’s surface side by side, followed by the “weed dance” where two pieces of grass are held between their beaks and used to paddle on the water’s surface, chests facing each other.
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