Male long-tailed wid­ow­birds wear a long, black cloak of tail feath­ers

These mag­nif­i­cent African birds show off their ex­tremely long tail feath­ers by fly­ing from dusk to dawn over their ter­ri­tory

World of Animals - - Shake Your Tail Feathers -

Found in the grass­lands of the African sa­van­nah, the male long-tailed wid­ow­bird un­der­goes a won­der­ful trans­for­ma­tion to at­tract a mate. When the young males ma­ture into breed­ing adults their colour­ing changes from brown to black with vi­brant red-orange and white shoul­der de­tails. Six to eight of their 12 tail feath­ers will also grow up to 50 cen­time­tres (19.8 inches) in length, and re­search has proven that fe­males pre­fer males with longer tails.

While other birds per­form en­er­getic courtship dis­plays, the long-tailed wid­ow­bird demon­strates its beauty and stamina by fly­ing. From sun­rise to sun­set dur­ing the breed­ing sea­son, the male flies slowly over his ter­ri­tory, drap­ing his mag­nif­i­cent feath­ers like a cloak be­low him and chas­ing off other males.

As well as fly­ing dis­plays, long-tailed wid­ow­birds also per­form static dis­plays. The bird arches his wings in or­der to show off his elab­o­rate colour­ing and cre­ates a hood shape with his feath­ers while us­ing vo­cal calls to at­tract the at­ten­tion of fe­males in the vicin­ity.

Long-tailed wid­ow­birds are un­able to per­form their fly­ing dis­plays when it is wet due to the length of their tail feath­ers

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