5 really wild courtships

5 really wild courtships

From water dancing to wrestling, we reveal some of nature's most curious courtship rituals and where to witness them in the wild on your honeymoon

1. Humpback whale

The enigmatic song of the humpback is commonly believed to be used to attract females. They hum; mouths clamped shut, while twisting and turning in the ocean currents, pectoral fins obediently flowing behind. Their operatic song can travel thousands of miles across entire oceans.

Where and when can I see it? The humpback's performance can be observed in many tropical locations including Banderas Bay, Mexico, and Hawaii between mid-December and March.

2. King bird of paradise

The king bird of paradise looks as though it's come from a child's colouring book - with violet feet, a chilli-red coat and an emerald-green ring on its white breast. Not only does the male have an elaborate appearance but also a very extravagant courtship ritual.

Super-thin tail wires with green disks on the end are lifted and swirled around (much like in cartoons when birds fly around a recently bruised head). The male accompanies this by puffing out its feathers into a neck ruff before splaying his wing feathers and swinging upside down like a pendulum.

Where and when can I see it? There is probably no other courtship that is quite so full of vibrancy and ingenuity. Papua New Guinea's king bird of paradise is considered vulnerable but can still be seen courting between September and April, deep in the rainforest.

3. Galápagos penguins

Unlike many species of penguin, the Galápagos penguin is found on the tropical islands of Fernandina and Isabela. The flightless bird, distinguished by its long bill and white-lined face, mates for life but continue to its their relationship with a complex set of rituals. These include preening, flipper patting, and bill duelling - where penguins face each other and vigorously shake their heads from side to side, clattering their bills together.

Where and when can I see it? Galápagos penguins make good use of the warm climate and abundance of food, therefore there is no specific breeding season. They mate year round, producing up to three clutches annually.

4. Regent bowerbird

Endemic to Australia, the regent bowerbird has a serious passion for interior design. The male forages the forest for an assortment of trinkets and baubles to impress and entice a mate. The male will plant a mossy lawn on which he will thatch twigs to create a bower. Inside the bower, he will carefully arrange his treasures of shiny leaves, berries and snail shells to best show off his collection.

Where and when can I see it? The bird is fairly unmissable, with a jet black coat and a golden yellow head-dress. Regent bowerbirds mate seasonally and inhabit the subtropical rainforests of coasts and hinterlands of New South Wales and Queensland.

5. Florida alligator

For such a terrifying reptile, the Florida alligator has some comparatively delicate mating habits. To attract a female, the males blow dainty bubbles and create ripples along the surface by bellowing at sub-audible levels. They also rub noses and raise their heads exposing their vulnerable necks as an expression of good intentions. However, in true beast style, they also wrestle, pushing and shoving the other underwater as a test of strength.

Where and when can I see it? Florida alligators are restricted to the brackish, swampy waters of the Everglades. Mating season is in July and should always be viewed from the safety of a boat.

---

Image: Dreamstime

More like this

5 top honeymoon experiences in St Lucia
5 top honeymoon experiences in St Lucia

Think honeymoons to St Lucia are just relaxing beach breaks? With rainforest hiking routes, colourful nightlife and thrilling wildlife encounters, this Caribbean gem may just surprise you…

Read More

14 of the best cycling honeymoons
14 of the best cycling honeymoons

Bike trips make great honeymoons for active couples and offer new perspectives on well-worn destinations too. From challenging routes to leisurely pedals along the flat, these are our favourites

Read More

The 5 most romantic restaurants in London
The 5 most romantic restaurants in London

Want to treat your loved one to a meal to remember? These five London restaurants are perfect for honeymoons, candle lit dinners for two and popping the question

Read More

Honeymoon Finder

Looking for your perfect honeymoon? Try our honeymoon finder and search some of the best tour operators available.

Honeymoon Finder
Honeymoon
offers
10% off at Powertraveller
10% off at Powertraveller

Save 10% on Powertraveller products

10% off at Nomad Travel
10% off at Nomad Travel

10% OFF your honeymoon gear at Nomad Travel

Twitter bird
CONNECT WITH
UNIQUE
HONEYMOONS
Get Honeymoons in your inbox

Unique Honeymoon Ideas sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!