Why Do Ostriches Dance? (Explained)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ever seen an ostrich dance? Well like most animals and birds when looking for mate, they display some behaviors that help them land a mate.

Ostrich dance only because they are trying to woo a mate for themselves; the male ostrich does the dancing to woo the female ostrich.

The dance takes place in two forms mainly; it starts with the male ostrich performing a courtship dance; the male ostrich starts this dance by flapping his wings out, squatting down, and then starts waving his head back and forth

If the female ostrich is interested and likes what she sees, she will flap her wings backward, while bending her neck forward at the same instance, then proceed to make a clapping noise sound with her beak.

Why Do Ostriches Dance?

Why Do Ostriches Dance

The male ostrich performs an elaborate dancing display all to attract the female ostrich during the mating season;

The mating season for ostrich starts from April all through to September, with the chicks hatching through October to December.

When humans are around, it gets the ostrich excited, and they tend to perform their mating ritual more;

This may be as a result of their exposure to humans throughout their entire life, and it is what influence the ostrich to become sexually excited.

Courtship in ostriches is always a spectacular affair;

The males chase each other frantically in competition in the presence of the female and proceed to dance alluringly for the female to achieve dominance and beat their competitors by acquiring the affection of the female ostrich.

The male ostrich will approach the female with a wildly exaggerated prancing gait, their feathers raised, and will then drop to their knees in front of the female as if they want to propose while at the same time waving their wings to reveal the white tips and then twisting their heads.

The male ostrich is polygamous and tends to have more than one mate,

But within his many females, there is always just one major hen, the rest being a minor hen, just like a first wife and concubine scenario.

Only the major hen in the female circle incubated the eggs;

She lays her first 8 or 10 eggs, and then the minor hens add their eggs to the collection, then the parent’s birds effectively covers the eggs when sitting on the best,

With this method some of the minor’s eggs can also be hatched, but excess eggs may roll out of the best to be poached by hyena and others if this is the case,

It is only the minor hen’s egg that will fall prey to that, providing valuable insurance to the eggs of the major hen.

Here is an article I wrote on why do ostriches eat stone?

What Does It Mean When an Ostrich Dances?

When an ostrich dances, it is mainly because they are looking to attract a female for mating;

During the mating season, the male ostrich performs an elaborate dancing display act the female birds to mate with him.

An ostrich will mate with a dominant hen and several minor hens; then, they lay eggs in a communal shallow nest that the male’s legs have excavated.

Things can get a little complicated when rearing ostriches, as ostriches have been found to develop amorous emotions for their human caretaker instead of each other;

The male ostriches get on bended knee when they see their farmer while the female click their beaks seductively, the only solution to this is to stay firmly on the other side of a fence out of their sights so the ostriches can be able to mate with their kind.

Why Do Ostrich Flap Their Wings?

To draw the attention of the female ostrich, to do this, the male ostrich will bow and flap its wings outward and then display its plumage and beak and their shins that turn crimson.

Sometimes the neck turns red as well. If the female agrees to the male’s advances, her feathers will turn a silvery color.

The male ostrich flaps his wings in excitement during the mating period to gain the attention of a female mate;

The male will flap their wings until he can lure himself a female when the female accepts the male ostrich,

They both go to a secluded place making sure they are left alone then mate, after mating they both go for grazing to synchronize their grazing behavior, after achieving that, the male ostrich will flap his wings again and poke the ground with his bill to symbolically clear a best in the soil,

The female ostrich will run around him with her wings lowered, and the male ostrich will end up winding his head around in a spiral motion,

while the female ostrich will drop to the ground presumably tired and dizzy from all the running around while the male ostrich will then climb aboard.

Also check out this article I wrote on how do ostriches run so fast?

Do Ostriches Dance in the Wild?

Yes. Ostrich also dances in the wild, a significant part of their mating ritual.

In the wild male, ostriches are often seen leading around a small group of females.

The male ostrich is slightly larger than the female and is darker in color.

During the mating season, the male ostrich dances to attract the female ostrich so she can mate with him.

The male Ostrich undergoes a color change at breeding season; his skin turns bright red, which signals to the hen that he is ready to mate.

The male attracts as many female hens as possible by dancing, fluffing his feathers, flapping his wings, and getting on his knees while swinging his head around;

The female often plays hard to get. Still, the male keeps on trying until the female finally succumbs to him.

Do Ostriches Dance to Music?

No. An ostrich does not dance to music; they only dance to attract female ostrich called the hen for mating,

The male ostrich dance for the hen during the mating season and then go ahead to mate with her.

During the breeding season, the alpha male makes a best in the ground and then attempts to attract a female by dancing;

After mating, the female ostrich lay their eggs into the nest,  the matriarch hen can lay up to 11 eggs which are positioned in the communal nest where they are more safest, both the alpha male and female take turns in looking after the nest while at the same time taking turns to incubate the eggs.

How Else Do Ostrich Attract Their Mates

Ostrich only attracts their mates by dancing; it is called the mating sound, which is the only way they draw their mates.

The male ostrich undergoes a color change during the mating season; the color turns bright red around the neck, wings, and other parts of its body.

The female, when they see this, know that the male is ready to mate; by dancing, the male ostrich attracts their female counterparts and other minor hens;

They dance by flapping their wings and swinging their heads around while getting on their knees in the front of the female.

If the hen accepts the proposal, she climbs onto the male ostrich for mating.


An Ostrich is a unique bird that has a special bond with humans;

These special bonds have made it slightly tricky for some ostrich to bond with their species as most times, some of them develop romantic feelings for the humans taking care of them.

Some research has shown that male ostrich dances for humans while the female ostrich clicks its beak seductively in the presence of humans.

When the mating season comes, a male ostrich will dance for the hen to attract them; they are monogamous.

A male can mate with many hens but have one primary hen that is the matriarch of the family.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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