Love in some Seychelles birds

Birds have much to teach us about love, from being subtle in your approach to how to bond for life. Birds perform rituals to attract a mate, just like humans. You might send your loved one flowers, chocolates, and emojis as well as take them to a movie or dinner. A bird might sing, perform a display, preen, feed, and even build a nest for a mate. Typically, the male does this, while the female decides whether it's good enough. So who sings, dances, bows, or brings food or nest material? Here are a few examples of birds from Seychelles.

White terns bond for life

White terns bond for life

The White-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) or Payanke in Creole, is a go big or go home kind of bird. Aerial displays are definitely a part of its courtship. It will engage in graceful glides with another bird, flying in parallel, one above the other. It will then bend its long tail to touch the tail of the other bird. Courtship is also noisy, as loud, repeated calls are issued.

Brown noddys bow and nod to each other

Brown noddys bow and nod to each other

The Seychelles blue pigeon (Alectroenas pulcherrimus) or Pizon olande courtship flight is uniquely different from the Payanke. The tri-colour birds fly sharply upward high above the canopy of trees before plummeting downward with wings held stiffly forward and down. This will be repeated several times before settling on a tree. Once there, the male bows and coos to the female while raising his neck and head feathers or struts up and down on a branch, plumes extended, turning his head 180 degrees then back again. Let's be honest. We'd probably fall for this.

White terns (Gygis alba) or Golan are the romantic ones. These birds are often seen in pairs. They are monogamous and bond for life. Apart from elaborate flight displays, the male might also give fish to the female and they’ll preen each other while perched on a branch.

A distinctive bowing and nodding is part of the Brown noddy (Anous stolidus) or Makwa courtship ritual. The nodding gives this bird its name. Feeding and flight displays can also be a part of courtship. The Lesser noddys (Anous tenuirostris) or Kelek also nod to each other and fly together, but love is also shown in nest building. The females are notoriously picky when it comes to materials and will reject any unsuitable leaves or twigs.

Toktoks call out to each other

Toktoks call out to each other

In courtship, the Seychelles magpie robin (Copsychus sechellarum) or Pi Santez droops its wings and chases the female. Males are also extremely territorial and sing loudly to proclaim ownership of nests. But the Seychelles fody (Foudia sechellarum) or Toktok has more finesse, and during courtship, pairs take turns calling each other before the male comes over. Toktoks mate for life.

The purpose of courtship in birds is to signal interest in mating and reproduction. But just like in humans, overtures can be accepted or rejected.

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