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How to Do the Hooded Grebe’s Hilarious Mating Dance in Four Moves

It's like a professional tango performance — for birds.

Are you a good dancer? Whether you answered yes or no to that question, you're sure to be upstaged by the hooded grebe mating dance.

These rare South American waterbirds live in the perfect place to be dancers: Argentina.

hooded grebe dance Public Domain

The country is known for its invention of the tango dance in Buenos Aires (or shared invention, if you ask Uruguay, which has also claimed credit).

These birds basically do an avian form of the tango when they're ready to have a baby.

hooded grebe danceGiphy

The tango is a pretty sexy dance that includes a lot of intense eye contact and precise moves, and the grebes deliver on those moves (seen below). So, it makes sense that the documentary where this grebe dance clip is from is called "Tango in the Wind."

The filmmakers traveled to the remote Patagonia area to film these birds in the hope of spreading awareness about conservation efforts. Currently the hooded grebes are listed as critically endangered, making every one of these mating dances crucial to the survival of the species.

And the females are tough judges.


Discover magazine reported that, according to BirdLife International, females choose mates that have better "rhythm, stamina and coordination" — presumably to ensure that their chicks are equally suave dancers.

The birds have a few different sets of moves.

There's the synchronized head turn:

hooded grebe dance

Giphy/NatGeo WILD

Not to be confused with the neck crossover head turn:

hooded grebe dance

Giphy/NatGeo WILD

There's also the bang your head up and down move:

hooded grebe dance

Giphy/NatGeo WILD

And the dive, pop up, layback:

hooded grebe dance

Giphy/NatGeo WILD

In all honesty, you just need to watch the video on NatGeo Wild, because the music behind the moves really makes it a full ~experience~.

Please enjoy with the sound on:

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