The cephalopod-faced display of Costa’s Hummingbird

Reader Michael sent a short (2-minute) video clip showing a male Costa’s hummingbird (Calypte costae) courting a female; it’s from a PBS show called “Super Hummingbirds” that will be shown on October 12th. Don’t miss it. 

This is a must-watch and, a Michael noted, the real fun begins 40 seconds in:

Spring is the time to nest for the Costa’s hummingbirds, before the desert gets too hot. Both males and females are looking for a partner, but it’s up to him to impress her. Though his back shimmers with green, it’s not until we get her point of view that we see his true splendor. He flexes the iridescent feathers of his mantle until they become a glowing mask of violet”

I have to say that hummingbirds have lovely sexual displays, but this one, in which the male turns his face into a shiny purple octopus, takes the cake!

You can read more about the show, and watch another video, here.


  1. GBJames
    Posted October 7, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink


  2. jaxkayaker
    Posted October 7, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink


  3. busterggi
    Posted October 7, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    DVR set to go!

  4. Flemur
    Posted October 7, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Hummers are pretty amazing. We’ve had feeders at over 10,000 feet elevation and the hummers were still around after snowstorms, ice-storms and temps in the 20s (their body temps drop at night). Almost all of them would leave for the winter at about the same time, the rest were gone within a week.

  5. Posted October 7, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Weird. Hard to believe that wasn’t colour-enhanced, or even bad CGI, as it doesn’t look real.

    • Siggy in Costa Rica
      Posted October 16, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Hummingbird feathers are really amazing in their ability to be intensely colorful if the light hits them the right way. I know I’ve seen a few species that most of the time were sort of drab. But once in a while they will decide to show off and you’ll get a intensely colorful and bright display. I’m always amazed at some of the images you can find of them online. I’ve found them to be extremely difficult to get a nice shot of.

  6. rickflick
    Posted October 7, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    All that hip shaking…there should be a human courtship dance named after this.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 7, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      The Hummerhip?

  7. Mark R.
    Posted October 7, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    WOW!…and then rejected! Poor hummer.

  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted October 7, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I think I might fly away too if some bloke started swaying his hips around in front of me like that, then turned his head into a purple spider! 😀

    Actually, it was totes amazeballs. Very cool indeed!

  9. Mike
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Twas ever thus for the poor Male.

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