Like black handkerchiefs being tossed about in a stiff breeze, the five birds moved randomly above the tall, lush grasses. Their impossibly long tail feathers and red shoulder patches identified them as Long-tailed Widows – one of the iconic bird species of the South African Highveld.
These performers were on their display ground – or ‘lek’ – competing for the attention of the drab, sparrow-shaded females which will line the nest shell made by each male and lay a clutch of 3 or 4 eggs. The polygynous males typically mate with 4 or 5 females and play no role in the rearing of their young.
Wakkerstroom, South Africa. November 2010.