Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Lapwing courtship and rivalry

You know that spring has really sprung when you witness this kind of bird behaviour.

There were three lapwings in this oilseed rape field - a female (left) and two males. The male in the right foreground had just finished a brief courtship flight display, then pursued the female through the plants on foot, until they both stopped. Then he turned and started pecking at the ground, in a perfunctory display of making a nest scrape, and displayed his rump. The second male, in the background here, had similar ideas. A recipe for trouble.

They both got airborne, to settle their rivalry with some aerial jousting. 

What followed was a lively display of close-quarters intimidation and some spectacular aerobatics, with a lot of noisy calls but no actual physical contact.

No idea how they judged who was the victor and who was the vanquished but .....

.... only one of them had the privilege of mating.

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