The northward spring migration continues in April, but we also see the beginning of the courtship of terns right here on Bonaire. Terns display several courtship behaviors, including the one pictured here, courtship feeding. The Least Tern male stands next to his chosen one, waving the fish from side to side like a flag. The size of the proffered fish is important to the female, as it indicates if the male will be a good provider for her chicks. If she signals her acceptance, he will hop on top of her, feed her the fish, and copulation then occurs.
The males of other tern species will “happy dance” in front of the desired female, with the offered fish held cross-wise in their bills, holding their heads erect, and holding their wings out and around the body like a skirt. If the male is shunned by the female, he will fly off to (hopefully) entice another female.