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It’s a Couples Thing

Life is always more enjoyable when it’s shared. Happiness is a funny thing, when it’s divided, it multiplies. I’m yet to determine the extent of emotional involvement between males and females of my subjects, but very often they seem to be somewhat attached to one another, from dawn to dusk they travel together through the forest, experiencing life together.

Those that do cooperate, that is. Very often it’s in the breeding season, when one – or both – parties has some sort of ulterior motive. Presently, at the cusp of the supposed rainy season in a couple months or so, lots of birds are definitely in the mood. Rufous-tailed Jacamars constantly call to each other, despite being within five metres of each other. When one flies off, the other soon follows.

I observed this male calling to his mate just a few branches to his left.

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She never took his eyes off of him, answering just as loudly.

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In the rain forests of Tobago, the trill call of a Red-crowned Woodpecker very rarely leads to a single bird. Somehow I’ve realized that the females tend to be the bolder of the pair.

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But we can’t have a Red-crowned Woodpecker without a good view of the red crown, right? The male of the species is responsible for this, eventually rewarding the patient.

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Some males try to woo as many females as they can (sound familiar?) to boost their chances of passing on their genes. I’ve observed male Silver-beaked Tanagers with up to three females at a time. Generally, large groups of these birds do tend to congregate around this time, so I’m not sure what are their views on the human concept of “fidelity”.

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I’ve been chasing a good photo of a male Silver-beaked Tanager for many moons now, but there’s no denying the beauty of the female. Together they’re like a good red velvet cake. Mmm.

silver beaked tanager







A couple months ago, I spent some time observing a pair of Black-tailed Tityras supposedly nest-building. This time, roles were reversed, and at times it seemed as if they were on the observation deck. They’re truly a sight to behold up close, and somehow their appearance seems frog-like (not in a bad way, of course), which sort of ties in with their croaking vocalization. I don’t usually post images twice, but I figure I’ll make the exception this once for the male Black-tailed Tityra.

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The female came extra close, and this is the first and only time I’ve ever had such a close encounter with this species.

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2 thoughts on “It’s a Couples Thing

  1. Jerome Foster says:

    Nice- yep plenty nest building – back in March in Talparo streaked FCs were at it too and down South woodpeckers and toucans are active in their nests. Funny you should mention close encounters – I had the same with a pair of tityras in Point fortin – both were relatively close but the female came down to eye level about 10 feet away at the most for a whole minute or two. The male stayed higher but still fairly close. They are very cool birds. Nice blog article as usual Faraaz.

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