The redshank is an elegant wading bird with bright orange legs, and the male uses these to great effect as he shows them off while fanning his wings at the female and calling loudly. Where to see it: East Anglia, Gloucestershire. During mating season, females are approached by three distinctly different types of male. It’s a (sometimes deadly) game of cat and mouse, as the pairs test each other’ fitness and bravery, only breaking off the grip at the last possible second. These aerial displays are often spectacular, especially in raptors which fly together over the territory and in the vicinity of the nest-site. Fun fact: Shelduck can have up to 20 ducklings – phew! [1][2][3][4][5][6] The courtship display begins around the dawn and continues for three to four hours. 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. They’re not the only duck. Suitor number three is a real anomaly. It’s large and jagged rather than. Out there in our wetlands, wildlife is making the most of the quiet atmosphere. Wildlife courtship rituals are an essential part of the breeding season; their main purpose is to help different species attract a compatible mate. What follows is one of the more mesmerising – and amusing – sights the Avian Kingdom has to offer, as groups of 50-100 flamingos, of both sexes, stretch out their necks and form an impromptu marching band, strutting around as one as they jerk their heads from side to side in an attempt to catch someone’s eye. Shelduck go in for communal parenting: sometimes, a few adults will combine ducklings into huge creches. Courtship behavior can include things like food delivery, dance moves (displays), and mutual preening. Great crested newts have also been reported at WWT Slimbridge and WWT Washington. Wildlife courtship displays can be dazzling to watch. But you may see it on passage near the south and east coasts. Tag: bird courtship displays Old Friends At the end of March, Dave and I visited Cape May Point State Park and South Cape May Meadows for some early spring birding. Courtship rituals in wildlife and birds are also a great indicator of the health of the wetlands habitats themselves; different species require a mosaic of different habitats and conditions for a successful breeding season. One of the most famous lekkers, peacock aside, is the Western Capercaillie, a grouse that calls the conifer forests of Eurasia its home. 7 stunning bird courtship displays that'll make you swoon Male birds have evolved an array of dazzling displays designed to attract females, strengthen pair bonds and prove they’re made of the right stuff to raise their would-be partner’s young. Traits preferred by the female of the species are exaggerated over time. Males will also often attack one another in water or on land, chasing rivals off. Thus, to maximise their chances of spreading their genes, in some species the males have developed flashy courtship displays to show off their charms in the best possible light, and woo females away from their rivals. The only problem: you’re two-stepping in competition against the entire flock. These displays vary widely and include the use of colourful and ornate breeding plumage; melodious songs; energetic dances; and gift giving. But thanks to a pioneering reintroduction programme, you can now see the UK’s tallest bird back in our wetlands. We’ve been working hard with a reduced team to ensure that our wetlands are well prepared to support a huge range of species during this crucial period, and look forward to updating you on these new arrivals in the coming weeks. Fun fact: The crane was lost from the UK for nearly 400 years, but thanks to conservation efforts their population numbers have once again hit record levels. In spring, the birds face one another (sporting striking orange and black plumage) then flick their heads from side to side, bob in unison, and swim low and slowly towards each other in the water. Of course, all these wildlife pair bonding and displays are only for one purpose: to enable birds to successfully nest and rear chicks. Our centres may be closed, but as they usually do this time of year, birds and wildlife are throwing themselves into forming their pair bonds ready to bring their young into the world. These behaviors often include ritualized movement ("dances"), vocalizations, mechanical sound production, or displays of beauty, strength, or agonistic ability. The female usually initiates the displays. So he’ll also perform an elaborate courtship dance in front of his female to fan his pheromones towards her, wafting water towards his intended and even creating waves with his tail to knock her backwards! The saltmarshes on WWT reserves are protected areas and managed to give wading birds the best chance of breeding success. Unfortunately, they are not as faithful to their mates as other duck species, and these bonds do not last long. She has brighter plumage and is larger than male. From mating dances, crazy poses, and nest building to other elaborate displays, this behavior can be fascinating to witness. The dance sees a pair face one another, stretch and flap their wings, then jump into the air like ballerinas – uttering loud croaking calls as they do. In species where the male plays little or no part in raising the young, females can afford to be extra picky, and males will often gather to forest clearings – or ‘leks’, to engage in a communal mating display. These displays serve to determine the pecking order, and since the spoils go to the alpha male, capercaillie gents go to great lengths to assert their dominance, with many dying as a result of fighting wounds, or simply collapsing from exhaustion. Where to see it: WWT Slimbridge, Caste Espie, Arundel, Llanelli, London, Washington. During late spring, male newts grow impressive crests and a large silver-striped tail to woo their female targets. We use cookies on this site to improve your user experience. Exploded leks tend to be more elaborate than classical leks, as males work to develop ever-more intricate displays in an attempt to persuade females that he’s got the goods. 10. Posted in: Once he’s spotted a bored female, he seizes the opportunity to mate with her. From odd dances to poses, here are some wetland courtship displays to look out for this spring. Seeing cranes dance is something that was impossible in the UK until fairly recently, as they were extinct. Although flamingos are socially monogamous, pairs only stay together for the duration of a single breeding season. The most elaborate part of their courtship ritual is the ‘weed dance’, which takes place just before the pair begin to build a nest together. From elaborated dancing and unusual poses, remarkable song and flamboyant plumage, bird courtship is very noticeable and can be enchanting to watch. Where to see it: The ruff breeds at a very few wetland sites in the UK and as it’s now on the red list of UK conservation, it’s not a common sight. Across our wetland sites right now we are seeing migratory wading birds like redshank, avocet, and little ringed plover displaying, calling and making a show of their feathered finery.