Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur

Sitio realizado por aficionados a la observación de aves desde 10 de enero 2006

Courtship - White-backed Stilt

Order: Charadriiformes - Family: Recurvirostridae The White-backed Stilt is a resident bird which breeds at Costanera. It is slender and has pink long legs and black and white plumage. Intermingling with other birds at the verge of the ponds the stilt stands out easily for its height and contrasting colour. The mating ritual of the White-backed Stilt consists of a sequence of displays which lasts some three minutes. It can be divided in three stages: courtship, copulation and postcopulation. The courtship stage, during which the female shows receptive by adopting a seesaw-like position with the upper part of the body slightly bent downwards. Meanwhile, the male responds to the stimulus with a sequence of displays. The copulation stage, where physical contact is made: the "cloacal kiss". And the postcopulation stage, the end of the ritual, with a display which is most endearing to human eyes.
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Displays of the male: preening, dipping its bill into the water, blowing and splashing water. The female stands moveless showing her receptivity.
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The male swaps from the left to the right of the female, circling behind her and repeating the displays. Then he pecks at the female´s back.
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Swaps are repeated followed by the displays till he is ready to copulate.
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Copulation: The male jumps on the female´s back. The female twists the tail to facilitate the contact of the cloacae. To achieve full physical contact the male takes the female by the bill. The contact of the cloacae is known as the cloacal kiss.

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Poscopulation: The male dismounts and "embraces" her by covering her with one wing. They cross their bills and keep them crossed as they walk for a little while. Bond reaffirmation display: protection and commitment. Photos July 2006 © Roberto Ares