Love in the Animal Kingdom

In the spirit of Valentines Day here are some of our favourite courtship displays.

The Albatross

Albatross perform synchronized courtship displays which consist of bill “clappering”; sky “calling” and, fanning the wings, which reassures bonding between pairs and strengthens dedication to rearing offspring. Courtship can last for up to an hour and take places sometime multiple times a day.

Bird of Paradise

Some species such as the Bird of Paradise perform a ritual dance to attract the female’s attention; this is perhaps the most famous courtship display in the animal kingdom. The breast feathers serve to stimulate the female’s visual system and hopefully result in copulation.

Peacock Spider

The male Peacock Spider uses its brightly coloured abdomen as well as vibratory signals to attract females. The reproductive success of this species relies heavily on the male.


With its elaborate blue and green plumage, the courtship display of a male peacock is nothing short of breathtaking when presenting itself to its hen. As females chose their mates based on their appearance, strutting, and sounds, all the pressure is on the male to impress.


It’s true, swans do mate for life, and this is why their courtship is particularly essential for maintaining their bond. You may have seen the image of two swans facing each other to form a heart shape as they bow to one another to begin their dance! But, it is not as graceful as you may think and is accompanied by hissing and grunting. Once the dance is over, they are bonded for life.

Emperor Penguin

Penguins are known for their patience and resilience, and when it comes to courtship, these birds know how to go the distance. While courtship for most birds lasts anything from 15 minutes to a day, the courtship between Emperor Penguins can last up to two months!


Sources: BBC Earth The Truth About Swans
Animal Planet Dance of Love
Science: Albatross
Wikipedia Courtship