8. Superb Bird-of-Paradise
The dark feathers on the male Superb Bird-of-Paradise are so light-absorbent, only VantaBlack could be considered darker. Of course, it’s the bird’s vibrant blue-green feathers that catch the spotlight in its mating dance.
According to Mother Nature Network, the effect results in an optical illusion, with a comically iridescent face bobbing around the branches. This bird may not know it yet, but it’s one of the most popular segments in David Attenbourough’s series on the natural world.
Red-killed Buffalo Weavers are known to copulate for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, Nature reports, possibly the only bird species in the world that experiences orgasm.
The male birds actually make use of a false phallus in the mating ritual, which still has scientists stumped. Whether it’s for reproduction or defending against competitors has been a topic of discussion since 1831, when a German anatomist first discovered the appendage.
What is known is that the birds, while passionate, do not fornicate with much frequency. Over the course of three years, researchers watching a colony of the birds in Namibia observed only eight matings.
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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.