Saturday, 20 February 2010

Take a bow

There is a lot of Woodpigeon activity these days. I can hear the slow, five-syllable song continuously repeated from the aerials and trees in the street in the morning. The clapping of the territorial display, an exhibition flight, in which the Woodpigeon rises high noisily clapping its wings and then glides down in a circle with wings outstretched and kept horizontal. On a roof yesterday, a male and female were engaged in more active courtship. The pair makes these little jumps as they get closer to each other and they engaged in feeding, usually the male feeding the female.
This couple sat together for a while, but if courtship proceeds the male engages in a 'bowing display, with exaggerated, ritualised slow bowing until its beak touches the ground while lifting its tail and opening and closing it like a fan facing the female. The male calls at the same time. While singing the male ruffles his neck feathers showing off its side white and iridescent patches. If the female is ready she crouches opening its wings and the male quickly mounts her, otherwise, she will move away or try and peck the male or even fight him off with wing strokes.
 The following YouTube video shows a male courting a reluctant female.

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