Birds Use Tap Dancing Skills to Attract Mate

According to a study published in Scientific Reports on Thursday, Uraeginthus cyanocephalus, an avian species commonly known as blue-capped-cordon-bleu, uses their eye-catching tap dancing skills for finding love.

Researchers conducting the study found that the tap dancing occurs too quickly for a human to notice. However, there was always the option of creating slow motion videos.

What’s particularly exciting is that dancing is not a ritual performed just by the guys. Unlike the majority of the avian courtship gestures identified to date, tap dancing is practiced by blue-capped-cordon-bleus of both sexes. This finding is in line with the previously known courtship habits of this bird species; for those who don’t know: it was already known that blue-capped-cordon-bleus of both sexes bob their head, sing, and hold sticks when they try to attract a mate.

Researchers decided to observe the birds as they were eager to gather more information about the methods of courtship adopted by this species. They were so keen to know more primarily because it was quite unusual for an avian couple to use both dancing and singing for wooing each other.

Closer observation allowed the researchers to realize that dancing was not only about small head bobbing for these birds; high-speed cameras used by them revealed that the head bobbing happens in cognition with rapid foot stomping. What’s more, the dancing appeared to follow the rhythm of singing. The researchers said that no study conducted to date had spotted such tap dancing in any other bird.

There was one more surprise in store for the researchers. They expected to see the males have more effective or longer dance routines. This is because female birds are usually much choosier with mates; this fact stands true even when birds of both sexes take part in mating and the avian species in question is known for practicing social monogamy.

However, when the blue-capped-cordon-bleus’ dances were analyzed, researchers found that things were a bit different for these birds. In these birds, dances appeared to vary more from one bird to another than from one sex to another. Birds belonging to both genders were found to coordinate their steps for creating a song featuring both non-vocal and vocal sounds and showcase mating gestures when there were on the same branch as their potential mate.