Ah, mating rituals! The things we do to propagate our genes include, but aren’t limited to perhaps turning on some sensual Star Wars cantina music or dressing up in our nicest Toy Story Vans or maybe even turning our faces into glittering purple splats that look like CGI models of a stygian elder god dreamed up by H.P. Lovecraft? No wait, that last one is what the male Costa’s hummingbird does to woo its mates.
Thanks to Office Space, we’ve all heard about what’s been deemed the “Oh Face.” Now ladies and gentleman, we introduce you to the “Oh-my-God face.”
No, that’s not the horrifying visage of Cthulhu or an off-brand Starro; it’s the real mating face of the Costa’s hummingbird. The males of the Costa’s hummingbird species (or Calypte costae)—which is native to the Southwestern U.S. and the Baja Peninsula of Mexico—have, as EarthTouch points out, quite a stunning method of trying to prove their worth as potential partners to their female counterparts. They start with “a sequence of arcing dive-bombs,” add little undulating midair body motions, and then proceed to dazzle the ladybirds with an array of spectacular purple feathers that look like a glamorized version of Davy Jones’ tentacle beard from Pirates of the Caribbean.
In the video above, which is a clip taken from an upcoming PBS Nature program titled “Super Hummingbirds,” we watch the full act unfold as a male Costa’s hummingbird dances in front of a prospective mate. But even though it’s doubtlessly a feathery display that would make even Lieutenant Commander Uhura proud, it fails to work. We can only presume that this particular male Costa’s hummingbird’s face isn’t the only thing that’s purple now, as his bruised ego is probably roughly the same color.
If you want to check out the “Super Hummingbirds” special, it airs on October 12 on PBS at 8 p.m. ET. Until then, see if you can woo your fellow nerds with your dazzling thoughts in the comments below.
Images: PBS Nature