Lifescapes Gallery

3 / Jul / 2013
Woman on Top!
Bronze-winged Jacana, Coorg
Dr. Bishan Monnappa

Woman on Top!

If some of our male readers had the chance to become someone else and live that person’s life, we wouldn’t be surprised if they chose to bypass obvious culprits like ‘the world’s richest man’, and instead chose an Arab sheikh or emir with a harem of wives at his beck and call. Now if we were to give our women readers the same offer (and suggest the harem idea), chances are that they would balk…after all who has heard of women with harems? They’ve obviously not heard of the Bronze-winged Jacana, who takes women’s empowerment to the next level by keeping a retinue of husbands in her harem. But she’s not alone in her peccadillo! Among humans, Polyandry, or the practice of women having multiple husbands, was prevalent in some parts of the world, most notably in Tibet. In mythology too, there have been instances, the most celebrated of which was Draupadi, in the Indian Hindu epic Mahabharata, who took five husbands, albeit unwittingly. Coming back to the female Jacana, she’s much larger than the male, and, in her role-reversed, territorial social structure, competes with other females for harems of males to incubate their clutches of eggs. Much like the relationship between an emperor and his vassals, each female’s territory comprises up to four males and their territories. The males have absolutely no control over when they’ll be called to the conjugal bed, and in true harem style, try to draw attention to themselves in rather unsubtle ways that include loud ‘yells’. Advertising seems to work here as the male with the highest rate of yells usually gets the most ‘quality time’ with the female, and a chance to be selected as the ‘receiver’ of the clutch. While one wonders if this is what is meant by ‘animal husbandry’, one can’t help but applaud the female for turning the tables and living the adage that ‘variety is the spouse of life’!

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, July 3rd, 2013 at 6:35 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. hasan says:

    awesome pic and a beautifully written article.

  2. Swetha Sridhar says:

    Dear Readers,
    We truly appreciate all your accolades on this 100th issue of Lifescapes. We would also like to thank you for your continued support!
    Warm Regards,
    Swetha Sridhar
    Asst. Manager, Marketing

  3. shy says:

    Rajesh, superb! as always. Dr.Bishan, how do you churn out such capturing/entertaining/informative write up!

  4. Harsha R. Herle says:

    Wonderful Snap followed equally wonderful script. Informative and entertaining as well. Thanks Bishan, Rajesh and Orange County.

  5. K.S.Shetty says:

    Excellent Picture. Superb story by Rajesh.’Harem for a female! Not heard of one!!

  6. George Antony says:

    very good photo.

  7. Jo and Laurence Kemmish says:

    Dear Orange County,
    That was an excellently-written piece about this bird. Thank you Rajesh.

  8. Monmohan says:

    Great Story!!

  9. Anu Elisha says:

    Loved the writeup! Funny, witty and very very informative. I thoroughly enjoyed every word 😉

  10. Narayanan Raju says:

    Lovely picture and as usual a great write up!

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