He starts with a bow, shakes his head rhythmically, and spreads his flank feathers into a skirt—only then does he begin the fancy footwork. The so called “ballerina dance” of the male Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata) is a carefully choreographed display performed for any female who chooses to perch on the branch above his well-maintained court. Putting all the elements of this complex dance together takes real skill. Perhaps because good dancing signals overall fitness and heath, only the most coordinated males are chosen as mates. Western Parotias are a type of bird-of-paradise; they live only in New Guinea.

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