While most people struggle to express their love, on odd occasions that we see people displaying affection and we call them lovebirds. These cute little birds have literally lost their name as most people assume it is just a metaphor for romantic humans. However, some species of birds are capable of expressing their love even better than the lovebirds themselves. These birds pull off the most beautiful romantic moves on earth to get a soulmate and keep them. Some of them also develop a mysterious, romantic bond with their mates that cannot be explained scientifically. There is no better way of celebrating valentine’s day than taking a few tips from these ten most romantic birds on the planet.
This is probably the only animal species that has zero divorces in their lifetime. Albatrosses are seabirds spending most of their lives fishing, swimming and navigating but love is what they do best. All Albatrosses lay only one egg a year on dry land and take care of the chick for nine months. Once the chick is weaned, it spends up to 6 years at sea before feeling the urge to mate after which it traces it’s way back to its nesting site. All agemates meet on land and break into a dance to select a partner. They change from one mate to another testing each other’s moves until they meet a partner that matches their desired dance moves.
They dance in pairs staying close to each other with beaks pointed to the sky stroking from time to time. The males open up the full length of their 12-foot wings displaying the most heavenly dance ever. Every couple generates unique moves with their legs and neck. The dances can continue for up to 10 years before the male earns mating rights. No mating happens until the pair generate their own unique dance. Once the partners agree on their dance, they bond and create their nests for the first mating. They do not stay together all the time, but when the time for mating comes, both partners miraculously find each other and create a nest. Their marriages continue until death although the males may mate with other partners every now and then. The partners may stay together for over 50 years raising chicks together every year.
The romance in the life of this parrot species has inspired scientists and poets for centuries. They have a unique taste for mates that literally determine their lives both in the wild and when domesticated. Lovebirds reach mating age after 9 or 10 months during which they meet their life partner. They cannot live without their partner after this stage, they groom, feed each other and share parenting tasks until death. The courtship process involves a special kind of closeness as the two birds spend all the time together except when collecting food and nesting material. They feed each other and share affectionate pecks most of the time developing a unique bond. If one partner is taken away or dies, the birds express erratic behavior similar to mourning or depression in human beings. When reunited after a long time of being apart, these birds reignite the bond by feeding each other and grooming all the time. They are literally the best expression of perfect love.
3. The Great Hornbill
There is love, but then there is Great Hornbill love! Great hornbills are monogamous, and a single partnership may last their whole lifetime. They reach mating age after five years. The 5-year bachelorhood is a training stage during which the males learn to attract females and be good fathers. The process of being chosen as a father even after the five years is still a very hard one. The males have to hunt and select the best fruits for the females to deem them, worthy fathers. The suitors then line up with their choice of fruits waiting for the choosey lady to make a selection. The suitors sometimes get aggressive, and fights may break out as they sing and chirp to get the lady’s attention.
The females may actually accept fruits from all the males at first, but this may not last, after some time, she will accept fruits from only one of the suitors. They then form a pair and go nest hunting. The male has to land on several trees he thinks will make a perfect home, but if the female does not agree, the search continues. Once the female agrees with a perfect nesting site, she seals herself inside to hatch the eggs, and the male has to feed her and the chicks for up to 12 weeks. This cycle continues for years as the male keeps the love alive through helping the female raise chick after chick every season.
These are the masters of seduction in the animal kingdom. For bowerbirds, love is all about color and beauty. The ladies will not enter a man’s house until he proves himself as a perfect interior designer, and of course, call them in nicely. These birds have what scientists believe to be the most advanced courtship behavior of any bird. Their relationships are not monogamous like other romantic birds, but the males really have to earn each mating chance. Their ability to construct beautiful bowers are not the only thing that attracts females.
Male bowerbirds go out of their way to get a collection of colored objects and line them up in style to be noticed by the females. The great bowerbirds mostly use blue as their color of choice, and it really works for them. The final array of the bower has to be more attractive than other competitors for the female to approach. Sometimes the males sneak in and destroy the competitors’ bowers to reduce the competition. The beauty is not all it takes though; the male has to put in some music to attract the female. Sometimes a female will approach, but if other suitors have done better, she will fly off.
Sage grouse females go shopping for their perfect man, and to be the best; he really has to put in the dance of the century. Sage grouse mating seasons are a great tourist attraction in North America. They live in tall sage brushes most of their lives, but when the mating time comes, all males move to open grounds such as dry lake beds and burned out places for their dance to be seen. They then start dancing showing off their puffed yellow balloon-like porches inflating and deflating it to produce a swishing sound. As the dance peaks, the females approach their choice for mating. Funny enough, the girls may choose only one guy in the whole lek. They all mate with him leaving the other strugglers on the lek with no mates. The males, however, have nothing to do with the parenting, they offer the romance and leave the girls to do the hard job.
The Birds of Paradise
The birds of paradise are one of the greatest wonders of the animal kingdom. Scientists tried for years to get a perfect video of a bird of paradise mating dance, and when they did, it totally changed the human approach to romance. Their spectacular 42 species mostly found in the forests of New Guinea have shocked scientists for decades. Their mating season brings out the romance never seen anywhere in the world. The males start by cleaning their patch to make a perfect dance floor. The cleaning is thorough; the birds literally shake trees for any loose leaves that may fall while they attract their mates. Before giving the display for the females, the males make a call of a lifetime with a screeching cry that reaches the farthest ends of the forest.
Sometimes they practice out their attractive turns even before the mate approaches. When she finally arrives, she finds a clean patch and the most beautiful breakdance of the animal kingdom. The males roll out their wings and combine them with neck feathers to form a beautiful ring around their heads which links perfectly with their beautiful heads and blue eyes. As they dance from side to side on their raised feet, they form a perfect rolling ring. The movements are accompanied by a calculated set of welcoming clapping sounds like the male dances around the female. This spectacular movement, however, is not an assurance of mating victory, the female may still move on to other suitors whom she deems better dancers, so the male has to really do his best.
How well can you locate your lady or man from a crowd of hundreds that look just like them after hours of dancing? Well, the flamingos know it. They live in colonies, but when mating time comes, they form groups ranging from dozens to hundreds just to dance. Before the mating seasons, flamingos apply “make up,” the pink shade they obtain from a compound called carotenoid, to look attractive. Their complicated group dance starts with a wing salute. They then make other uniform dances with their heads and wings including a one-leg dance before breaking into the most coveted nature of the flamingos, the match!
The birds create synchronized movements with their feet and necks forming a spectacle or pink patterns as they move uniformly. Scientists have confirmed that flamingos have hundreds of moves and the one with the unique ones is most likely to get a mate. Their relationships are monogamous, but the exact selection of a particular mate is hard to explain. All scientists know is that a decided female move away from the crowd and the chosen male follows leaving the rest to fight on. They are not sure how the guy knows he has won in the first place.
Apart from Albatrosses, this is the other bird species believed to be most faithful in marriage. Swans are social, and their first love becomes their soulmate forever. They are the worst affected species when they lose their partner; most females literally don’t eat if their male partners are taken away. Swans are famous for their “kisses” and the beautiful heart shape they form when courting, but this is not all about them. Unlike common myth that mute swans are silent, all swans are noisy when courting and incredibly romantic. They have a perfect courtship dance involving swinging necks in symmetrical movements testing each other out. Once they form a bond, the male and female are married for life. They continue their romantic stunts decades into their marriage during which they help each other build nests and feed their young.
The art of selecting the best gift is one of the best displays of romance and penguins also have to choose the best gifts to win a mate. While other birds like great hornbills present food, Adelie penguin males are tasked with selecting the best rocks from the millions on the seashore. The mating season kicks off with the males reaching the mating site first and reconstructing their previous season’s nest. New fathers have to make several runs to pick the best rocks, sticks and other enticing objects to build a new nest. For the male’s nest to be noticed, it has to be made of more attractive materials than all neighboring males and be spacious enough for the lady.
The female may go back to their previous season male’s nest to check if it still meets her needs, if he falls short, she quickly moves on to other males. This effort is however not all it takes to win the girl; the males have to be prepared for the long season of fathering. If the male is not fattened enough on the belly, the female fears that he will have to run off many times for food giving less attention to the eggs. For the Adelie penguins, the man just has to prove himself. Otherwise, there is a whole lot of options for the lady to choose from. Once mating is done, the female takes the nest, lays the eggs and leaves the male to lays on the eggs for two months until they hatch. The father still has to help with parenting.
These are the birds that “catwalk” on the water in their courtship dances. Both western Grebes and Clarke’s Grebes are very romantic in courtship, but the later is the best of them all. Grebes live in water, and while they are semi-monogamous, every relationship is full of love. They are proud showy birds and their courtship is never complete until the male puts up with the female in a beautiful but rather complicated dance. There are more males than females, so the females hold the final decision on the choice of the mate. The courtship process involves two main stages; the first is the rushing stage involving quick synchronized marathons through the water creating a spectacular set of waves. The birds form a pattern during the runs stopping every now and then for a peck and a cuddle before picking the play again.
The second stage is called the weeding stage, and it is all about gifts and dance. The male provides a collection of weeds to the female, and they dance around in synchronized movements showing off their beautiful white underbelly over the water. Every time they dance, the male and the female stretch over the water and dance with their necks raised touching each other until they form perfect moves. If the male suits the female’s choice, she mates with him for the season and they stay together until the eggs hatch. He however only helps with the parenting for a few weeks.