There are many references in the Pali and Sanskrit literature to the mythical birds with human head and torso, Kinnara (male) and Kinnari (female). According to the literature, the birds originated in prehistoric India. They appear in some of the discourses of the Lord Buddha himself.
In Burma, images of the Bird’s dancing styles are found painted and carved on the walls at Bagan and (even earlier) from the Pyu kingdoms.
The songs and dances describe the Bird's happy re-union after a separation of 700 nights due to a heavy rainstorm and floods. The dance is a popular emblem of true love and has an ancient history that is kept alive by the Burma dance troupes.
The dancers are attired with flapping wings at their wrists, in contrast to wings at their armpits, as is characteristic of Thailand and other Asian countries. The dance of bird-like movements is very supple and fine, and intricately coordinated with the accompanying music.