Little Grebe – whinny trill calls, courtship?

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Vocalisation | 0

“Little Grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis) have colonised the peninsular since the 1950s and locally retain their ‘breeding’ plumage right through the year (above). There are large numbers at Malim Nawar Wetlands.

“I had an opportunity to watch what appeared to be courtship behaviour. Three adults, in good plumage, were ‘horsing around’; most appropriate term I can think of. They were frolicking in the water, with one occasionally ‘taking off’ in flight just above the water and at the same time sounding their delightful call/song, which has been described as a high pitched horse whinnying, or a ‘laughing trill’. There were some ‘chasing’. Some authorities believe this is a breeding call.

“Attached is a recording of one of these calls (step up volume to hear well) HERE. It starts with a rapid flutter of wings as the bird takes off in flight across the water. The call is initially loud and rapidly decrescendos. It is one continually call. Total duration in my recording was 8 seconds.

“A waveform and sonogram of calls, and two of the three birds are attached above.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
25th April 2014

Location: Malim Nawar Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Extensive ex-tin mining area with pond/lakes, wetlands, fish farming

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