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Fluffy little balls hovering above fresh green

Avatar of koney koney - 14. January 2020 - Environment

After the first rains courting Red Bishop males are staging a colourful display at Avis Dam in Windhoek.

Dirk Heinrich

In the dried-up Avis Dam just outside Windhoek, small red and black fluffy balls are flying around over the fresh greenery. They are colourful Red Bishop males, who are ready to start breeding again after the rain and who distinguish themselves from other birds through their black faces and throats, their bright red heads, necks, chests and rumps, their orange backs, and their grey-brown wings. While flying, the males show off these colourful feathers and use a chirping sound to impress females, to protect their territory, and to chase away competing males.

Courting males build round pensile nests in the hope that a female favours it over other nests, moves in, and lays a clutch of turquoise-coloured eggs, which usually hatch after about thirteen days. After another two weeks, the chicks are fully fledged.

In Namibia, the Red Bishop occurs in the central regions of the country, from north to south, as well as in the furthest northern regions and in the west right to the coast and Swakopmund. After shedding their old feathers to make way for new growth, the males and females look identical in winter. Red Bishops mainly eat seeds, but also caterpillars, flying termites, and other insects.

For more in-depth information on the Red Bishop and its breeding habits, visit Namibia Outdoor.

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