Friday, 7 August 2015

Cape Rockjumper WAR!

In my previous post I documented a placid Cape Rockjumper release, in this one I document a rare fight sequence. This has been the only one we have observed to date. Mostly the birds are happy to call and display to each - I've never seen a full on fight before.

I had just released a male Cape Rockjumper back where we had caught him and he flew quickly out of sight. However, I heard him calling and decided to get a closer look. His calling was answered promptly by another male close to hand. The interloper was an unringed bird, and must have used the period of the resident males absence to attempt a territory take over. The recently released male was not going to put up with that and quickly flew over to the usurper. A lot of calling, displaying and posturing took place, and then a brief midair full on contact fight occurred.

A period of about 10 minutes of chasing and calling ensued, which took the birds over the valley and out of sight. Birds that we catch are fed up on meal worms and always gain weight - so I'm hoping this was to the residents advantage and things are now back to normal.

Photo quality is poor as these are cropped photos: the action took place a bit far away for nice crisp shots.

realising there is an intruder, the resident male flies in to defend his patch

resident male takes up a prominent display posture

a lot of call and displaying takes place

Aerial combat! the two males clash in mid-air

A more placid male from the neighbouring territory respected the boundaries

Cape Rockjumpers fan their tails to show off

On a more peaceful note, Malachite Sunbirds are back and feeding on the later winter/early spring flowers

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