Bird Buddy Blog

Love is in the air – five amazing bird mating behaviours

1 May is known as Global Love Day. That’s why it is the perfect time to explore the crazy and kooky ways our feathered friends have of expressing it. From jealous power couples to interior decorating and water ballet, they really do get up to some wonderfully delightful antics.

1 The way to a bird’s heart is through the stomach

There are some decisions best made with a full stomach, and kingfishers seem to know that very well. To woo their beloved, they catch a fish and store it inside their mouth. When the time is right, they present the fishy offering. Putting the cuteness of the gesture aside, the reasoning behind it is very practical; it signifies to the female that her mate is capable of providing for her. Bonus points for theatricality! 

2 Home is where the heart is

In blue tit pairs, it is the female who builds the nest. She builds and furnishes the couple’s little abode with moss, straw, dead grass, hair and wool. However, male blue tits rightfully believe that a home needs to be beautiful, as well as functional! When their lady love is done building the place, they are the ones who decorate it with feathers, sticking them on the nest or just making a neat pile in the corner of the nest or outside of it.

3 Power couples

Ravens mate for life but, interestingly enough, they aren’t so keen on others doing just that. That’s because in raven society, breeding couples are at the top of the social – pun intended – pecking order, while single ravens are at the bottom. If one of these power couples sees two single birds getting a little too cozy, they will try and disrupt the coupling so they don’t lose their social status and can, consequently, keep more territory and food resources for themselves and their babies.

4 Gender bending

Strong and dominant females are no stranger in the animal world; just think of lionesses for example and praying mantises. With birds, however, we are used to males being the ones that sing, defend territory and are, in general, bigger and more colorful. Not so with black coucals. These African birds do just the opposite. Males mate exclusively with one female and are stay-at-home dads, incubating the eggs and providing all parental care. Females are larger, mate with several males and are also the ones you can hear singing from the treetops, be it to attract a new mate or defend territory.

5 Kiss and… vomit?

Kissing, that gentle expression of love we know so well, is rare in the animal kingdom. Among birds it can be found in white-fronted parrots, making them one of the few animals that engage in this behavior. Pairs will exchange long, long kisses, smushing beaks together and even frenching! When things get heated, males will finish the passionate exchange with a unique “gift”! It’s probably not what you think. Males will regurgitate food into the female’s mouth. Looks like they get both a makeout session and a meal out of it. Yum!