Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Red-cheeked Parrots mating; Iron Range.

Last month, on 8th September, I was at Iron Range with friends and was lucky enough to be standing in the right place to see a male Red-cheeked Parrot fly into the crown of an emergent forest tree. When I put my binoculars on the bird I saw that it had joined a female and was regurgitating food to feed to her. I watched the birds for the next 18 minutes as the male fed the female, they both preened, the female signalled to the male that she wanted to mate, the male approached the female, climbed on her back, mated with her and flew off. The female stayed and preened for about another 9 minutes and then flew off in the same direction as the male. The actual mating took approximately 20 seconds and the birds were together in the tree for approximately 12 minutes. From when the female first indicated that she was ready to mate she did not move from her selected branch so perhaps she had chosen her preferred mating location in the tree and invited the male to come to her.

The following is a photographic record of the event. All images were taken using a Canon 7D MkII with a 100 - 400mm L series zoom lens. Over the full 18 minutes of the event I took 200 images and I have selected 35 of those images to record the mating. Each image is captioned with the time in hours, minutes and seconds. 
081859 Male arrives in tree and feeds female. Male's tail is fanned

081903 Male regurgitates food for female, still with tail fanned

081923 Food is regurgitated to bill and it can be seen that it is a fruit containing large, white seeds

081925 Male feed female

081929 male and female move apart 
081950 Male still has slightly fanned tail

082002 birds move further apart


082016 male cleans bill on branch

082124 Female fans tail to indicate she is interested in mating


082204 Female starts preening

082243 both birds continue preening




082645 Male stands upright and fans feathers on belly. Female moves into what appears to be a pre-mating position

082709 male moves closer to female and still has belly feathers raised

082713 Male fans tail and moves toward female

082715 distance shot to show bird's location in tree

082717 male moves toward female with vent feathers raised

082723 Male climbs onto female and mating begins






082743 Male drops to a lower branch

082919 Male has flown from tree and female starts preening






083654 Female finishes preening and after this image she flew off in the direction taken by the male

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