Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Long-tailed Widowbird

(Euplectes progne)
South Africa

One of Africa’s most spectacular transformations must be the male Long-tailed Widowbird during the breading season.

The courting display consists of two parts, the static display and the flight display.

During the static display the wings with its red-and-white shoulders are slightly stretched out and the head feathers are erected in a hood in order to attract the attention of a female nearby.

Long-tailed Widowbird - during static display.

Long-tailed Widowbird – during flight display.

On take off with a slow rhythmic exaggerated beating of its black wings and prominent long black tail the flight display begins. The Long-tailed Widowbird males flap his wings slowly fluttering over he’s grasslands domain with his unmistakeable long tail trailing behind.

Long-tailed Widowbird – during flight display.

Long-tailed Widowbird male non breading.

The Long-tailed Widowbird’s breeding season provide photographers some of the most unique opportunities to capture the display (static and flight) of this transformed bird. Once the breading season pass the birds loose their attractive long tail and black plumage and return to there non breading plumage.

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