Blue-capped cordon-bleu songbirds (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus) know how to bust a move like Fred Astaire. The birds belt out some dulcet tones, stick some nesting material in their beak, bob up and down — and rhythmically tap their feet.
Researchers summarize the first evidence of such “tap dancing” in this socially monogamous species November 19 in Scientific Reports. High-speed video revealed the behavior, which had gone unnoticed in previous studies.
And every Fred needs a Ginger: While males typically sing showier songs, both sexes displayed equally elaborate dance moves and upped the ante when on the same perch as a partner. Sounds and vibrations from such dance duets may serve as a form of flirtatious communication, the researchers suspect.
Watch male and female blue-capped cordon-bleu songbirds perform courtship routines first in real time and then in slow motion.
Credit: Nao Ota