The Buff-Breasted Sandpiper: Attracting Mates With Armpits

In this video, narrated by David Attenborough, Buff-Breasted Sandpiper males demonstrate their interesting courtship technique. In Why the Buff-Breasted Sandpiper Blushes at Beautiful Armpits, Dr. Laurie Santos, Associate Professor of Psychology at Yale University, explains:

[This bird is] drab looking because it lives in the Arctic, very hard to get food and do everything. But it kind of allows for its beauty to come out in really strange ways. And one of these ways is that it has incredibly attractive armpit. So, it’s armpit is very white, very clean and it will do flash displays for females where males will kind of get out in a field and kind of flash its armpit and if the females like the armpit, they can fly from miles and miles and then they’ll do this kind of wonderful armpit display and the females, you know, fall for it; they think this is wonderful. But you can tell, you know, kind of which males have the sexy armpits by which ones are flashing and all the females are all “Ahhh!”

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