Some people are simply born to dance—and the same goes for birds. Many species, once grown, find themselves overcome with a primal urge to bust a move.
Some male birds gather in leks, not unlike nightclubs, to dance in a group and invite curiosity from nearby females. Others perform feats of strength and endurance to prove their value. And in some species, males and females dance together to form a pair bond while putting on a show.
At around three years old, young Laysan Albatross return to their birthplace to start learning the ways of courtship. Deep in their bones they know the dance moves needed to woo a mate, but they haven’t yet developed their talent.
At first, young birds gather in small groups to practice. As the years go on, those groups grow smaller, until finally the confident birds are ready for their big finale: a partnered dance.
The Magnificent Riflebird, one of about 40 bird-of-paradise species, isn’t afraid to let loose on the . . . tree branch. He stretches his elegant black wings and then dramatically whips his head from side to side to display his blue iridescent throat.
A male Costa’s Hummingbird is better named Squidface. He begins flirting by swooping and diving over his perched crush, and twists his body acrobatically in the air.
At first, you might mistake the male Blue-footed Booby for a demure romantic. He begins his dance by shyly drawing attention to his feet.