April 19, 2007—In a high-speed fight to win a female's attention, these rivals have the perfect weapons: feathers that look like kitchen utensils.
For the first time ever, filmmakers working with the American Bird Conservancy in northern Peru have captured the unusual courtship display of the marvelous spatuletail—a rare sight that is considered one of the most bizarre in the birding world.
Males of the species sport special tail feathers more than twice the length of their bodies and capped by glossy, spoon-shaped "spatules." When competing for females, the males attack each other while frenetically spinning their tails.
Get the insider's view of this rarely witnessed display, and find out why conservationists worry that future chances to see the courtship in the wild could be gone in the space of a hummingbird's heartbeat.