Highveld Hula

Long-tailed Widow web

Long-tailed Widow (Euplectes progne). Wakkerstroom, South Africa.

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.

 

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About Duncan Butchart

Duncan Butchart is interested in all aspects of the natural world, with a particular fascination for birds and their ecological relationships. www.dbnatureworks.com
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2 Responses to Highveld Hula

  1. Peter says:

    They are amazing over-the-top displays of nature! To me, the fact that they can still fly is even more wonderous.

  2. Bridget says:

    Duncan thank you so much. I love reading your astute descriptions! I am sorry to have missed your uplands walk the other day but look forward to the next one!

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