Firetail displays

Subject: Firetail displays
From: "Martin O'Brien" <>
Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 08:28:15 -0816 (utc)
Hello Birding-aus viewers,
        Like Richard, I too have observed this behaviour by Fire 
tails but it was Beautiful Firetails @ Melaleuca in far sw 
Tasmania during Orange-bellied Parrot volunteer work.  The 
behaviour Richard describes was similar in most respects except 
the male bird held an enormous length of grass stem while 
'bouncing' up and down on a branch attached to the OBP feed table. 
The bird was singing at the same time and managed this with its 
beak closed (so it didn't drop the grass?).  No other bird was 
visually present to us at the time but often a female would fly up 
to the branch and immediately the male would lift his tail and 
drop his head so as to display his superb red rump to the female. 

In two weeks of observing this behaviour in 1994, only once did we 
see the male 'succeed', with an interested female flying off 
behind him when they departed the table.  I haven't checked 
whether this is typical display behaviour by Firetails but it is 
interesting to note birds at different ends of the country acting 
in a similar way. 
Martin O'Brien

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