Dancing with the Birds Review: Netflix Documentary Shows Courting Birds

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 22, 2019
Netflix documentary Dancing with the Birds


Netflix documentary Dancing with the Birds is a wonderful piece of work, demonstrating how birds in paradise do the most extravagant things to land a mate.

I will admit, when I saw the premise of Netflix documentary Dancing with the Birds I was ready to be bored. But pause, because I was absolutely surprised. I’m so far removed from being a bird watcher, but if Netflix offered more analysis of birds in their natural habitats with Stephen Fry commentating over the filming, then I’m all in.

I never knew birds could act like this.

Firstly, Dancing with the Birds has astounding patience behind the filmmaking. Every time I view anything that attaches to the wildlife genre, I always wonder how the person behind the camera felt. When they finally get “the shot” that will be cropped and chopped into a series of scenes to entertain a viewer. It must be marvellous. The scenes we witness in this Netflix documentary not only make you chuckle, they earnestly surprise.

Apparently, there are many species of majestic male birds out there that spend days upon days trying their absolute hardest to court. And that is not just flying from one tree to another, and flapping the wings senselessly, but there’s a genuine personality to their approach.

From extravagant dancing to creating large nests with the right decorations, Dancing with the Birds demonstrates how birds in paradise will flaunt in varying, colourful ways in the hope of landing a mate.

Stephen Fry’s mastery with words and ability to time his sentences markedly with the progress of a male bird attempting to woo a nearby female is expertly done. Without his 50-minute work, Dancing with the Birds would suffer from lack of context — you can sense his amusement of describing a bird’s weaponry of dance moves.

Regardless if you are into features like this, Netflix documentary Dancing with the Birds will not only entertain, but educate, and I would have to argue that 50 minutes is not long enough for this material. I’d even suggest that a docuseries would give the format what it deserves.