View Full Version : Territorial display and fight of Pheasant-tailed Jacana in breeding season

Samrat Sarkar
21-08-2015, 03:51 PM
More or less all the waders fight among themselves for food, nest and breeding territories. And it is surprisingly true that the female ones become more involved in these fights. Whereas a single weaver male usually mates with more than one females, the Pheasant-tailed Jacana (PTJ) species female counterparts keep three to four male mates under their firm control. Interestingly, theirs' is a totally female dominated society. This is strange but true and it takes real guts to do this!

And to make this difficult task possible the female PTJ has to very often fight off their female counterparts who encroach on its breeding territory so that her male partners are not allured by those other females.

In the series of pictures posted here I have tried to show one such territorial fight between two PTJs. I presume that both the birds are females, because it is very difficult to identify their gender from distance. Male PTJs also sometimes fight with each other for some reasons. But the fight as shown in this series lasted for a long half an hour and that is why I assumed that both the birds are females and I have seen the defeated bird to backtrack and to leave the territory as well.

The first weapon to ward off an intruder female is to show its territorial display by spreading its wings wide open and inflating its neck and showing off its strength.

The male PTJ build the nest, hatches the eggs, trains its offsprings to feed etc. The female one remains busy maintaining the territory and warding off the intruders. And importantly, the female PTJs do not take part in nest trans-location.
Place - "Boisa Beel", Nadia, West Bengal
Date of take - 16.08.15

Image 1.
One female PTJ relaxing in its territory..

Samrat Sarkar
21-08-2015, 03:53 PM
The intruder PTJ came

Samrat Sarkar
21-08-2015, 03:56 PM
Territorial display of PTJ. Intruder PTJ is on top..

Samrat Sarkar
21-08-2015, 03:57 PM
Fight started. Intruder is on top...

Samrat Sarkar
21-08-2015, 03:59 PM
Fight continued...

Samrat Sarkar
21-08-2015, 04:01 PM
Intruder defeated and leaving the territory...

Samrat Sarkar
21-08-2015, 04:04 PM
As usual losers always hide its face...

Saktipada Panigrahi
22-08-2015, 10:30 PM
Nice sequence of events wonderfully captured. Lovely habitat image(s) -- head and lower neck white, golden yellow at top..........spectacular is to see how the tail gets elongated into graceful curved plumes in breeding time. Thanks for sharing. SaktiWild

Kaustuv Chatterjee
04-09-2015, 05:25 PM
Very well documented, thanks for sharing...

Samrat Sarkar
07-09-2015, 02:13 PM
Thanks a lot Shaktida and Kaustav...

Mrudul Godbole
07-09-2015, 04:55 PM
Lovely series of photographs showing the behaviour. Very beautiful bird. Thanks for sharing the detailed information.

Roopak Gangadharan
16-09-2015, 11:10 AM
Very nice series Samrat and a good write up..the territorial fight images are especially interesting. the theories surrounding polyandry in wetland and shore birds and its corelation to habitat factors like availability of resources, predation and even climatic conditions like flood / drought make interesting reading. however one points which raises here is on the why classical polyandry is seen in some taxa of the same species but not in others inhabiting in the same habitats, with similar feeding habits and morphology.


Samrat Sarkar
22-09-2015, 03:29 PM
Roopak ji
I have heard that Sandpipers spend a breeding season with a particular partner..although they are also waders... that is a mystery..