On 17th April 2023 I was in Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia and had an opportunity to observe the courtship behaviour of the Orange-bellied Leafbirds (Chloropsis hardwickii malayana). Images posted here were taken from quite some distance and improved using image software. However, the observations seen were certain. There is little information on such behaviour.
I saw 3 adult birds in the courtship interaction, 2 males and one female. The activity consisted of the two males chasing each other, making calls, with the female in tow or observing from a tree. Intermittently the two male birds would stop at a tree and compete in song (see Image 1). Song was given full-throated with the head tossed back and the beak pointed to the sky (songs were not recorded). Occasionally there were some wing displays (see Image 2, poorly shown). I saw no physical altercation, only vocal interactions.
Note that the brilliant turquoise-blue at the carpal bend of lesser-wing coverts was prominently displayed in both adult males; this is usually concealed. This is probably part of the courtship display.
The courtship behaviour and interactions continued but moved further than I could follow due to the terrain.
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
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