A lavishly illustrated account of bird courtship and its spectacular displays of plumage and song.
Birdsong may seem to us to be the purest expression of joy, but in fact when a male bird bursts into melodious song, he is warning off other males and advertising his availability to females. He may also engage in spectacular displays of plumage, dance-like movements, or even acrobatics (tree-based or aerial)—all as part of courtship. The female, meanwhile, assesses his vocalization, plumage, and territory before accepting him as a mate. The Mating Lives of Birds offers an engaging and lavishly illustrated account of this most captivating phenomenon in the natural world: bird courtship and display. It explains how birds' reproduction strategies have evolved, and describes bird monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, promiscuity, and communal living arrangements. It shows us dancing cranes, somersaulting hummingbirds, drumming ducks, and the outrageously extravagant plumage of birds of paradise. It describes group territorial displays, jousting males, and phalarope role reversal (with the female sporting brighter plumage)—not to mention elaborate nest decoration and the presentation of food offerings.
The book's fascinating account of the mating behavior of bird species from around the world is illustrated by 140 vividly detailed color images. Birdwatchers will find The Mating Lives of Birds to be an essential addition to their libraries.
James Parry is an ornithologist, tour leader, and the author of The Desert, Global Safari, Rainforest Safari, and Living Landscapes: Heathland. He lives near Swaffham in Norfolk, U.K.
A gorgeous coffee table book that combines 140 spectacular photos of birds all around the world with text about the wide variety of calls, displays, and other ways that birds attract each other to mate.