Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Falcated Ducks

On my first day of visiting Imazu in Fukuoka Prefecture, I was really pleased to find that there was a good number of Falcated Ducks (Anas falcata) staying at the river mouth. This beautiful species of duck is one of the species that I've been yearning to photograph the most in Japan. It is a rare vagrant in Thailand and I have only seen a few females there. In Japan, I've seen them several times before in Kitsuki, Oita and Ono River, but never got a chance to get any good photos of them. Furuso-san has even found a male and a few females in Beppu. This time at Imazu, a flock of them was found sleeping just behind the sea wall. I could take photos of them quite easily from behind the wall. I just love the glossy head feathers of the male birds!

Male and female Falcated Ducks (Anas falcata)

Some more shots of the same group of birds
The birds flushed up as an old man came walking along the sea wall
The birds flew out into the middle of the river and stayed there for a while. They even began to perform their courtship display. The male birds became so excited with their heads held high, crests fluffed up and cocked up tails. They swam around the female, gave out their weird whistling call followed by a series of springing its body up and down. I took several videos of them doing the courtship display. One of the videos can be seen below. I was surprised to find that female birds also performed the dance ritual. I've never seen a female duck performing courtship display before. I think this is pretty weird.

Falcated Ducks sleeping and stretching

Male and female birds performing courtship display

Male birds demonstrating the courtship ritual
This group is part of the total of approximately 100 individuals
I waited for the birds to move closer to the sea wall, and they did. Even though they were not that tame or confiding, they came close enough for me to get some decent shots with my short lens. I just love how the glossy green and purple shades of the drakes' head feathers change rapidly according to the angle. It reminds me of male sunbirds or hummingbirds. I had a nice time taking photos of them as they slowly passed by in front of me. Even though they seemed to be sticking around in the same area behind the sea wall, I chose to move on since I was still on the search of spoonbills. If I had known that I wouldn't be able to get photo of the Black-faced Spoonbills up close, I would have chosen to stay a little longer with these gorgeous ducks.

Love the colour shifting head feathers of the drakes!


Stuart Price said...

You're so lucky to get such beautiful specimens close up, when they come up here they are so wary.......

Great shots.

Russell said...

Beautiful collection of photographs of these guys. You did so well to catch the light on their feathers.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Awesome shots. Well done.

Phil said...

Great pictures, you captured the iridescence of the plumage really well. As you say it's unusual for the females to display like the male - can't say I have seen it either.

Ari said...

Great capture...very well done...

Chris said...

Lucky you to have such a wonderful beauty around! Gosh thos duck is beautiful! you got superb shots of it, well done!