Why Does This Hummingbird's Face Look Like a Shiny Purple Octopus?

By Casey Chan on at

This Costa’s hummingbird seriously looks like it has a shiny purple baby octopus (well, a six-tentacled one) attached to its face like the facehugger in Alien. It almost seems as if the octopus was digitally slapped onto the face. Instead, Costa’s hummingbirds have a beautiful purple cap of feathers that stretch over their head and onto their throat that flares out when they try to court females.

Basically, this is just a boy trying to impress a girl with a dazzling display of flying and feather flaring. You’ll notice that his body is twisting and swaying around while his vibrant violet face never breaks eye contact with the female, and it strategically angles itself in front of the sun so that its purple feathers can shimmer.

Plus, watching this courtship display is also great because the female hummingbird never reacts to the silly boy bird until she flies away.

Here’s what a male Costa’s hummingbird looks like when its feathers aren’t splayed out:

Why the Heck Does This Hummingbird's Face Look Like a Shiny Purple Octopus?Photo credit: Alan D. Wilson - NaturesPicsOnline