“This mother White Breasted Waterhen (Amauornis phoenicurus) appears to have told her scruffy chick not to show up for meals until he combs his feathers and gets properly dressed (below).

WaterhenWB [LeeChiuSan]

“Over the years, many clutches of Waterhen chicks have been hatched in my garden.

“I am always amused when they first appear as cute balls of black fluff, such as the one below.

WaterhenWB [LeeChiuSan]

“Adults are usually very well turned out in their tuxedos (below).

WaterhenWB [LeeChiuSan]

However, when growing up, there is a stage when the dress sense of the chicks leaves much to be desired, as evident in the first picture.

“Waterhens are extremely territorial. Much as I would like to see a flock of them, there is no possibility that there will be more than the two pairs currently resident. They have a well defined border, with one pair in the front garden and the other in the backyard.

“Intrusions across the invisible line at the side of the house are greeted with outraged squawks. Battle is engaged if the intruder advances further.

“The parents also do not hesitate to boot the chicks out once they reach adulthood. Though the Waterhens in my garden have been very prolific, I wonder where the displaced youngsters go.”

Lee Chiu San
26th September 2017

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