Secret show-off

Delighted by this glamorous display, I first thought it was a new bird. Then I recognised the face: it was the Buff Banded Rail  (Galliralus phillippenis) that I often see scurrying across the patch of grass below my window.

As it lowered its backlit wings a little, I could see I was right, but why was it holding those usually hidden wings out like that? I have since found it’s sunbathing, but at the time I wondered if it might fly.

I have never seen it do anything but scurry, flicking its tail up and down.

Apparently Rails can fly, if weakly.

When it turned sideways, I was dazzled by those strikingly patterned wings, now glimpsed from above. I thought of pheasants.

My bird books all comment on it as being secretive, sneaky, or skulking. I am now adding ‘secret show-off’ to those epithets. As it returned to its less dramatic daily dress and demeanour, this Rail certainly looked like it was checking that nobody saw its display; it could not know I was watching from on high…

3 thoughts on “Secret show-off”

  1. Great photos Sharyn, really show up the colours of this lovely little bird.
    We had one coming into our place a few years ago with 7 tiny black balls of fluff running along behind.
    Sadly they disappeared one by one till none were left, then the mother also disappeared.

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