Backyard Chirper

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Hummingbird Mating Dances

Crawford H. Greenwalt, a famous hummingbird historian, once referred to hummingbirds as “feathered Don Juan’s.”  The main reason for such a nickname was the fact that the hummingbird is a philanderer, has no contact with his children, and will often leave the moment after insemination to look for another mate.

Of course, in order to find that special someone–even if it’s only for a few minutes–male hummingbirds put on quite a show.

The ruby-throated hummingbird attempts to impress potential mates by flying upward of 50 feet and then diving down at top speed, before pulling up at the last moment and making a U-Turn.

The male Calliope Hummingbird rises to a height of 60 to 90 feet, before plummeting to the ground, making an arc and then rising once again.  It makes a loud whistle at the bottom of its path.

Other male hummingbirds show off their colors to attract mates, while those with dull plumage often use other methods.  Here’s a quote from hummingbird scholar Dr. Augusto Ruschi:

“The male flies in circles very near the female, above and around her, chirping low as she watches him, turning her head to follow his movements.  He approaches more closely and opening his bill sticks out his tongue and lets it drop in an exquisite and ridiculous manner….until the female at last gives signs of potential surrender.”

But few hummingbird mating dances are as impressive as that of the Spatuletail hummingbird, which is found in the rainforest in Peru.  The male species of this hummingbird has two extremely long tail-feathers, which are tipped with discs.  These tail-feathers are used as flags of seduction, as the male Spatueltail waves them in patterns while flying in order to attract the female.

Check out the video below to see if he gets the girl:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnyj1X0ruJk