Courtship of the Pin-tailed Whydar

on 25th May 2013

On 17th May 2013 Johnny Wee documented the courtship dance of a male Pin-tailed Whydar (Vidua macroura) at Punggol Barat grassland along Seletar North Link.

This bird, an escapee, has been documented as early as 2008 LINK. It is well sought after as a cage bird, especially the male with his long narrow tail feathers.

During courtship, the male sings nearly all day within a designated display area, chasing other males away. His display includes flying from tree to tree, flopping his tail feathers, especially when females arrive. Even when other species like sunbirds or shrikes are present, he exhibits his display.

In the images shown here, the male flies at a female on a perch, bounces over her in flight and waving his tail feathers. He may hovers in front or flies around her, with wings fluttering and closing alternately. Such displays may last for as long as five minutes.

Should the female be attracted to him, she may follow him to a feeding area where the pair feeds together. There, copulation may take place.

Johnny Wee
May 2013

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

4 Responses

  1. I had one in my backyard for 4 weeks putting on a show with it’s tail and singing. He was amazing!
    Irvine, CA

  2. Next question – will there be a sustainable feral population? Whydahs are brood parasites of Estrildid finches. The closest equivalents in Singapore are the munias. Will they seek out munia nests in which to lay their eggs?

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