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Common Iora: Courtship ritual

on 14th February 2007

K.C. Tsang was birding recently in Perak, Malaysis with Alan OwYong and Connie Khoo when they had an encounter of the musical kind. Here is KC’s story: “We were driving along through the bushes in the Malim Nawar Wetlands when we came across a chorus of beautiful singing conducted by a number of male Common Ioras (Aegithina tiphia). They were trying to impress upon the females that they were the ones the females should receive. The females would flutter from bush to bush followed ever so closely by the males.

“As can be seen from my photograph (left top), the females were playing so hard to get, or showing no interest at all. However, there was one very unusual behavior of the female caught on camera. It was after hearing so much close quarter singing from the males that she decided to let herself fall over while still holding on to the branch (left below).

“Now, was she saying no to the male, or was she saying YES let us have some kinky sex! The male could very well replied… what the hell are you doing hanging upside down like this? …you know I can do it this way.”

As we all know birds don’t do it hanging upside down. But do we, actually? We need to have an open mind, KC. Who knows, one fine day you may actually come across a pair mating with the female hanging down. Or was she falling head over heels? Anyway, this may be a new record for the Avian Kama Sutra.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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