The fascinating ostrich courting dance

Male ostrich courting dance near a female.

The ostrich is easily the largest bird on earth. But how gracefully it can dance!

Courting Dance

The courting dance of the male bird is fascinating to watch.

This remarkable display puts the ostrich among the foremost performers of the bird and animal kingdom.

During the mating season, the plumage of the cock usually attains its brightest colors—black on the body and wings, with white wing quills, brownish-white tail feathers and a white collar around the skin of the neck.

Female plumage is of a light-gray color and the skin dark gray.

The skin of the mature cock is dark-lead blue and, at mating time, bright scarlet over the beak, forehead and eyes, as well as the front of the legs and toes.

The cock begins his dance with spectacular “waltzing” movements in dainty circles, as if on tiptoe, with raised wings, displaying his beautiful plumage.

He approaches his mate gently, going down before her on his knees, or haunches.

Patiently, he courts her with a rolling body movement and with wings slightly raised, moving them to and fro.

He butts his head alternately against the right or the left arch of his back, thus making a thudding sound.

An appreciative hen will then raise her wings in a horizontal position, fluttering the tips gently.

She does this almost bashfully, with her head held low, while opening and shutting her beak as if chewing air.

After a while, she crouches for the male to perform the mating act.