Home Birds Water Birds Show Off Fantastic Rare Courtship Dance

Water Birds Show Off Fantastic Rare Courtship Dance

This is the moment two Greater Crested Grebes surprised a photographer with an extremely rare courtship dance!

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This is the moment two Greater Crested Grebes surprised a photographer with an extremely rare courtship dance!

All media by Peter Martin


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28-year-old Peter Martin, a self-employed photographer and nature enthusiast, had front-row seats to the amazing sighting from the comfort of the Malachite Bird Hide set in the Wilderness National Park along Langvlei Lake.

“I arrived at the Malachite Bird Hide on a beautiful spring morning, surrounded by the serene beauty of the Western Cape. The weather was cool and calm; I was in for a treat. The Langvlei water levels were unusually high due to recent rains, creating the perfect backdrop for some bird action.”

As Peter settled into the hide, he was immediately captivated by two Greater Crested Grebes in the distance. These birds were engaged in a fascinating display, bobbing their heads together. Little did Peter know this was just the beginning of an extraordinary spectacle.

“Then the grebes glided closer to the hide. Seeing them up close was a rare sight, and I couldn’t resist capturing their beauty on camera. Then, something truly magical happened.”

In a mesmerizing sequence of events, the grebes began to engage in a captivating courtship dance. They raised their wings, puffed out their crests, and synchronized their head movements in perfect harmony. The birds swam swiftly towards each other, creating an unforgettable sight.

The pinnacle of this dance was when the grebes offered plant material to each other, dancing gracefully on the water’s surface while rubbing their undersides together. Peter recalls, “It felt like a magical moment, and capturing it on camera was a huge bonus. What a treat!”

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After this enchanting display, the grebes dropped their “plant offerings” and swam off together, side by side, towards the reeds.

Water Birds Rare Courtship Dance

“It was incredibly rare for me. I’ve seen many Greater Crested Grebes before, but this was my first time witnessing their courtship display in person. I’ve seen videos of such displays and always been in awe, so this was particularly special.”

“To witness such remarkable moments, spend plenty of time in bird hides. Don’t rush the experience. Observe the behavior of birds and wildlife, savor every moment, and exercise patience. Sometimes, the unexpected can happen when you least expect it.”

Peter’s remarkable experience didn’t end there. He returned to the hide multiple times within a week of the initial sighting and observed the grebes engaging in similar courtship behavior. However, the magical dance he captured on camera remained a rare and unforgettable encounter.

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