Wild Ride Children

Feathered performers

Clockwise from top left: Baya Weaver Bird, Black Kite, Great Indian Bustard, Magpie Robin, Sunbird, Sarus Crane, Lesser Florican, Hornbill

Clockwise from top left: Baya Weaver Bird, Black Kite, Great Indian Bustard, Magpie Robin, Sunbird, Sarus Crane, Lesser Florican, Hornbill

Courtship is a very special time for all animals, as it is the time when they select their partners. The most amusing and impressive courtship displays can be found among the birds, especially the males who show off by singing, dancing, performing gymnastic feats, offering gifts of food, putting on a new garb of attractive feathers, among other strategies. From the descriptions below, see if you can identify the bird:

1. This male bird sings lustily early morning and late afternoon, punctuating its song with a cocky upward jerk of its white-fringed tail.

2. The males of this species, which resembles an ostrich, fluff out their wings, cock up their tails, inflate the yellow sac called gular near their throat until it looks like a balloon and bellow loudly.

3. The male performs a strange dance, springing up constantly over and above his cover of the tall grass. Each jump is accompanied by a guttural croak as the bird floats down with his tail fanned out.

4. This tiny fellow calls ‘cheewit-cheewit’ excitedly while raising his wings to expose the tufts of reddish orange feathers in his ‘armpits’.

5. The male and female spend their courtship days playfully grappling each other’s enormous beaks as if exchanging kisses. The male brings bugs and berries and the two pass them back and forth before they look for a tree with a hollow to nest in.

6. The birds partner for life and perform a spectacular dance during courtship, prancing with outspread wings, leaping and bowing like ballerinas.

7. Their thrilling aerial courtship comprises calling each out shrilly locking talons in mid-air and spiralling dangerously towards the ground.

8. Among these birds, the male makes a retort-shaped chamber from reeds, which the female has to approve of and choose.

Answers: 1. Magpie Robin; 2. Great Indian Bustard; 3. Lesser Florican; 4. Sunbird; 5. Hornbill; 6. Sarus Crane; 7. Black Kite; 8. Baya Weaver Bird


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 11:05:46 am | https://www.thehindu.com/children/can-you-identify-the-bird-from-a-description-of-its-courtship-display/article38247232.ece