Display, Dance, Song, Dominance

Definition of Courtship

Type of behavior in which animals send out stimuli-such as sounds, visual displays, or chemical-in order to attract a member of the opposite sex.

Courtship Overview

The process of courting requires a lot of time and energy. Lots of species migrate to a certain place in order to find a mate. Reproducing is different for many animals, some can only reproduce once in their life and some can produce multiple times. Animals court by showing displays of communication and by sending out pheromones. The males have to make their intentions of courting completely clear because sometimes there is no interaction between the two until they are actually mating. Courtship can be a long tedious process for only a little gain.


Displays in courtship is anything an animal does to try to gain the attention from the opposite sex. Examples of displays is a male bee-eater offering an insect offering to the female he is trying to woo, a satin bower bird makes a beautiful nest to catch the attention of the female, Roseate spoonbills dance with each other at a high branch when they court, during breeding season bustards puff out their chests in a display for the females, gannets will rub their necks together when courting, and many birds perform their own special dance while trying to catch the attention of the female. These are only a few ways that courtship happens in animals.


Peacocks have long feathers that cover almost their whole body. These tails are amazing and cover more that 60% of their body. Peacocks use these feathers to their advantage in courting. They spread their peacocks and shake them in order to attract the female. The female will go to the male who has the most elaborate and the best feather display.


Many males woo their women with songs while they are courting. Whales are the most common known animal for their songs they sing. Male humpback whales come together in a group and form a choir to sing their song. Male adelie penguins point their beaks to the sky and flap their wings while they sing a song to attract the females. Certain kinds of birds will dance for their mates to catch their attention. They will even dance on water. Dance in courting is very amazing to see.


Pinnipeds are a great example of dominance among males. Males compete for females by making displays of aggression and behavioral bluffing. No matter what happens the female, however, always has her choice on who she wants to mate with. These males who are competing and trying to “get to the top,” are displaying courtship rituals. Dominance occurs in every animal category.