Sunday, May 24, 2015

Killdeer - a love interlude

Killdeer is a plover who was once known as a Chattering Plover and/or Noisy Plover because of the very vocal nature of this species.
Technically a shorebird, Killdeer are often found away from shores as well as near them, frequenting mudflats, gravel bars, gravel roads etc. The southern population are residents year-round, they like to do a great deal of socializing, calling and foraging and today they were mating.
It was quite early when I spotted this fellow which was soon joined by another. I was mesmerized when I realized that courtship was taking place.

The male hopped onto the female's back, assuming a half-crouched position.

His feet seem to slide down gradually between female's drooping wings and her body.

The female rhythmically pumps her tail and body against those of male, eventually bringing dorsal surface of her tail and body against ventral surface of male's tail and body.

The male then slips off the side of female, twisting his tail and fluttering briefly to bring his cloaca into momentary contact with her cloaca.

It is said that pairs often copulate 2 times in succession which would explain the length of time that they took to seal the deal.

Killdeer are monogamous and copulate regularly during incubation. Some pairs remain together and defend their territory year around.

The pair parted and soon left the area silently.

What a treat to be a witness to such a loving moment!

 Information about mating was gathered from - if you are a member of e-bird you can subscribe to this fantastic website for 25.00/year - each species described in lengthy details - a priceless investment.

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