Funny animal dances on Galapagos
Dancing is the great human leveler. Almost every human society on the planet, from isolated Amazonian tribes to your local disco on a Friday night, exhibits the signs of the mating and fun ritual elements of dance.
So, should we be so surprised that some of our animal companions love to get their groove on too? After all, we’re really not that different when it comes down to our basic needs. We all need shelter, a regular food source, security from predators and a desire to mate.
Here in the Galapagos Islands, there are a number of examples of animals shaking their tail feathers. One of the islands’ most famous and well-loved inhabitants is famed for its dancing rituals. The blue-footed booby is almost a cartoon character in the avian world, thanks to its colorful and distinctive blue feet, inquisitive nature and high-stepping mating dance.
Seeing the dance in action during the breeding season, which runs from June to November, is quite something. Although the bad news is that numbers seem to be in decline, thanks largely to a shortage of sardine numbers in the water (something environmentalists are at a loss to explain). Breeding pair numbers have been in steady decline since the mid-90s, so seeing them on Galapagos tours is becoming a rare event.
Of course, it’s not just the boobies that you’ll see dancing on Galapagos. Male frigate birds puff up their chests in an elaborate attention-seeking gesture and waved albatrosses engage in a lengthy and noisy mating ritual which involves fencing and dancing with one another, rapidly slapping their beaks back and forth. They also bow and step around each other in coordinated movements that can’t help but remind you of a 18th-century ballroom. Although there’s a lot more clicking of beaks and furious nodding than you might find in a Jane Austen novel.
You’ll only find one species of flamingo in the Galapagos Islands. They’re found in small numbers on Floreana, Punta Moreno, and Cerro Dragon. If you catch a glimpse of your Galapagos tours then you’ll be lucky and luckier still if you manage to see their group dancing rituals. Primaries (the longest and bets kept feathers of their wings) are exhibited, necks are craned and the dance moves busted out to impress the ladies.
Enjoy your Galapagos tours aboard boats and you can experience all the incredible wildlife of the islands. You’ll begin to understand why Charles Darwin formulated his theory of survival of the fittest here, although his legendary tome didn’t make much mention of the range of dance moves.