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Video: Songbirds tap dance to seduce their mate

The blue-capped cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus) has a special talent. Not only can it sing, it can shake a leg or two. For its courtship display, it holds a piece of nesting material in its beak, points its head upward, moves up and down, and sings. Both males and females bob and sing like this, and choose their partner. Now, researchers have found that as the bird bobs, it does a quick tap dance where it stomps its feet (as seen in video above). The tap dance is so fast it eludes the naked human eye and was filmed using a high-speed video camera. Of the 16 birds that were paired, seven males and four females were caught courting and dancing, the team reports today in Scientific Reports. The footage reveals that a cordon-bleu performs an average of 3.17 stomps per bob. A male or female stomped more if a prospective mate was seated on the same perch. Stomping produces vibrations and nonvocal sounds that the bird coordinates with its song to communicate its interest in the opposite sex, the researchers suggest.