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8 Fascinating Ways Birds Say "I Love You"

Not sure how to tell your crush how you feel? Take some advice from these guys. Everyone knows that birds have dating down to a wonderfully quirky science.

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1. Instantly growing a skin beard

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You know how some human women are into facial hair? Female Temminck's tragopans (a type of pheasant) are into bright blue skin beards. Happily, the male of the species sports such a thing, but he usually keeps it hidden until it's time to court a lady bird. Basically, things go down like this: "I love you enough to show you my skin beard now, baby. Wanna screw?" Male tragopans are huge teases, incidentally.

2. Inflating a giant heart-shaped pouch / Via

Male frigatebirds have a red pouch that they inflate to attract mates. When viewed straight-on, it tends to look like the frigatebird is holding a gigantic heart-shaped valentine. There's been no word regarding whether female frigatebirds are disappointed when they find out there's no chocolate inside.

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Frigatebirds are REALLY LOUD. Just so you know.


3. Becoming a giant smiley face / Via

It's not that unusual for a bird to perform a song and dance routine to attract a mating partner, but no bird is as showy as the male six-plumed bird of paradise. After performing some secret bird ninja moves, the male transforms into a giant black and neon blue smiley face. Yes, that thing is a bird.

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Video here, because it's that much more impressive this way.

4. Building a love shack, gifting brightly-colored presents, and doing a sultry dance

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Bowerbirds take courtship very, very seriously. The male builds a structure called a bower which he surrounds with brightly colored objects he thinks his potential mate might like. You know, because having a nice house is important. If a female enters a male's bower, the male tries one last time to impress her by shimmying and shaking his feathers. We can only assume that he's trying to explain that he's had a few drinks beforehand to ease his nerves. Go easy on him, lady bird.

5. Moonwalking

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Male manakin birds moonwalk to attract mates (skip to 2:20). Yes, moonwalk. Hey, it worked for Michael Jackson.


6. Synchronized dancing / Via

Flamingos love to dance, and they love to dance together. Just before it's time to mate, groups of roughly 30 birds, including both males and females, will perform synchronized, wiggly dances. It's an impressive display; scientists say it's instinctive, but I suspect the flamingos simply practice when the scientists aren't looking.

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I think it's working.

7. Showing off their enormous blue feet / Via

Male blue-footed boobies initiate courtship by alternating spreading their wings and marching in place. The goal of the latter? To show off one's bright blue feet, because apparently they weren't obvious enough by being bright goddamned blue. If a female is sufficiently intrigued, she'll join her potential partner and they'll perform the derpy dance as a duo.

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With sound effects.

8. Being the bird with a thousand voices

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While many birds sing when they go a-courting, no bird's range is quite as impressive as the Superb Lyrebird, which should have its own act on The Tonight Show or something. Basically, Lyrebirds can mimic just about anything, and they'll rattle off every sound they've ever heard for their lady friends. This includes chainsaws, you guys. Chainsaws.

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