The most common courtship behavior I observed was “billing.” Billing among mated pairs of the birds I observed involves touching, or as it appeared to me, caressing, each other’s bills. The behavior apparently serves to strengthen the pair bond. This was most apparent with the Razorbill pairs.
|Razorbill pair bonding by "billing"|
|Common Murres - apparent billing|
A completely different form of courtship is practiced by the Arctic Terns. I only saw these terns in flight. Several were carrying food. Among most land birds, this is a sign of young in the next. However, among the terns, bringing food to one’s mate (or hoped for mate) is a courtship behavior by the male in order to demonstrate, presumably, his ability to provide for the mated pair’s young. I have seen this among Least, Common, and Forster’s Terns, and now Arctic Tern.
|Arctic Tern carrying food as part of its courtship & pair bonding.|
Good Birding !!