“Prancing around the palm” – courtship behavior of Asian Koels

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Feeding-plants, Plants | 3

“On 13th September 2015, before 8 am, the male Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) was calling loudly while perching on the fruiting *Livistona rotundifolia palm, commonly known as Footstool Palm.

“It held in its beak a ripen fruit which was darker than the bright orange fruits which were more abundant. A short while later the female bird appeared, accepted the fruit and allowed the male to mate. The whole process took less than a minute. The female was still holding on to the first ripen fruit.

“The male plucked a second ripen fruit (top) as the female was playing with the first fruit, tossing it twice with her beak (above).

“The male went to offer the second fruit to the female. Then suddenly the female hopped onto the base of the palm frond, still hanging onto the first ripen fruit in its beak (above). The male gave chase with the second ripen fruit in its mouth (below). It was interesting to note that both birds were hopping around the top of the palm instead of flying.

“In the picture below, the female had already completed a full circle around the palm, still holding onto the first ripen fruit.

“The chase continued as shown in the two pictures below.

“Below shows the male making a desperate attempt at getting the attention of the female by calling loudly and offering the second fruit.

“Note that the neck feathers of the male were raised in a state of extreme excitement (below).

“The female flew away from the palm despite the male giving chase (below).

“Strangely, the chase ended suddenly as the male did not pursue the female. Instead it remained at the palm (below).

“After making several loud calls, it lost interest and dropped the second ripen fruit. It remained and defended its territory stubbornly for almost an hour from four Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) that took turns raiding the palm.”

Thong Chow Ngian
14th September 2015

*Note: Although the contributor lists the palm as Saribus rotundifolius following Wikipedia, we tend to prefer the name Livistona rotundifolia after Chong at al. (2009).

Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 273 pp. Uploaded 12 Nov.2009. PDF.

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