Lifescapes Gallery

28 / Dec / 2011
No Fly Zone!
Asian Paradise-flycatcher, Kabini
Jayanth Sharma

No Fly Zone!

Whether you’re part of the Dragonfly Squadron, the Butterfly Command, or the Bug & Beetle Corps, you’d do well to steer clear of the airspace around Kabini. This is a biospheric Bermuda triangle, where identified flying objects fly in but don’t fly out, and nothing’s heard of them ever after. This ‘No Fly’ zone is zealously guarded by an avian patrol known by the Latin name of Tersiphone Paradisi or ‘the sweet voice of paradise’. Now, those naturalists of a bygone era must have had a rather droll sense of humour, or at the least, been tone deaf. The Asian Paradise-flycatcher referred to, has a voice that’s anything but sweet, and is a noisy chatterbox with a raucous skreek that definitely doesn’t evoke visions of paradise. But when you come eye to eye with him, you begin to understand why the old naturalists went weak-kneed and poured out their approbation in poetic Latin. The adult male, after its colour morph in the second or third year, is a thing of rare beauty, and soars like a messenger from the heavens, with snowy plumage and gorgeous tail streamers trailing along like bejewelled ribbons. Watching these streamlined studs chase after flies is a sight for the gods, as they twist and turn mid-air, with their tail ribbons looping and creating exquisite patterns that signal both a predatory as well as amatory intent. For, while most birds use their tails as a rudder, the male Asian Paradise-flycatcher uses it as a flag of virility to catch the attention of lasses who’re single and willing to mingle. The strutting male, however isn’t the only one in Kabini who’ll be hoping the tail show works, for it’s only in the interregnum of a romantic interlude that the beetles, bugs and other flies can safely fly across the Line of Control.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 at 6:10 am and is filed under Birds . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Tarun Jacob says:

    Spotted one of these on my aunts X Mas Tree,my mum thought the tail was part of last years Christmas decorations still on the tree,she was was in AWE when it took off and realized its a bird 🙂 immediately i showed her this article… 🙂 Thanks OC.

  2. monica says:

    Marvelous…Never knew something like this ever existed till i saw this picture. Lovely photography.

  3. Jair Jeter says:

    Very good blog. Really, thank you! Will read on…

  4. Antim says:

    Cool pics!!!

  5. Anu Elisha says:

    Beautiful photograph and fantastic colour contrast. I really admire wildlife photographers for their patience. They wait crouched in the bushes for long hours, and voila! … along with cramps-the perfect shot 😉

  6. Sagar mundada says:

    Amazing…the naturalist at Orange County are just too good. Specially the team at Kabini, full of knowledge and their zeal to share the knowledge with the visitors is woow!!!

  7. S Patel says:

    Soooooo beautiful. Great photography. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Vinod Kumar VK says:

    Beautiful Capture of this beauty!! Yes.. it looks like a messenger from the heaven!! It’s a great feeling to see it in the forest!!

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