As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Strutting their stuff! Incredible images reveal rare black grouse impressing female birds with their mating rituals in Scotland


Photographer James Moore, 42, captured the bizarre mating ritual in rural Aberdeenshire at dawn earlier this week

The practice involves males competing with each other on a patch of territory known as a lek - an area 65ft (20m) 

Over the course of two hours, males puff themselves up, strut around, leap into the air, and square up to each other

The dominant bird, which secures the centre of the lek, is marked out as the alpha male and has his pick of females

The black grouse, one of the most threatened species in the UK, has suffered a dramatic decline in recent decades



PUBLISHED: 12:11, 11 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:19, 11 April 2014

At the crack of dawn, gangs of black grouse put on one of the Scottish Highland's most bizarre spectacles.

Over the course of two hours, endangered male grouse puff themselves up, strut around, leap into the air, and square up to each other in an attempt to impress the watching females.

The black grouse is one of only three British species to exhibit this strange 'lekking' ritual behaviour.

Spring has arrived in the Scottish Highlands and the aggressive mating rituals of the black grouse have begun. The bird, native to Scotland, is one of only three British species which exhibits 'lekking' behaviour



THE MATING RITUAL
The practice involves males competing with each other on a patch of territory known as a lek - a circular area roughly 65ft (20m).

Within this space, five to ten male birds battle it out to dominate the centre of the circle and show off their skills.

Once the hens arrive, the atmosphere becomes hostile - the males jumped at each other, 'crashing around like dodgems'.

The dominant bird, which secures the centre of the lek, is marked out as the alpha male. Calls and posturing are then used to attract a mate.

In contrast to this lavish display, the females known as ‘greyhens’, remain camouflaged in their habitat.

The practice involves males competing with each other on a patch of territory known as a lek - a circular area roughly 65ft (20m).

Within this space, five to ten male birds battle it out to dominate the centre of the circle and show off their skills.

‘The males started to gather around the lek when it was still dark,’ he said. ‘All I could hear was them babbling and cooing at each other.


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