No rest for the wicked!
Masked lap-wings are wicked in any common sense.
These birds are truly devoted parents.
And I have my deepest respect for their tireless efforts. This is a 24/7 kinda full-time job.
This pair of ‘parents to be’ are still hatching their eggs.
Like many birds, they share nesting duties as a tag-team. Incubation time is estimated at around 25 days.
This proud mother has a few more days until her brute will hatch.
She might as well enjoy a relatively relaxing time.
Once the chicks fletch the nest, very stressful times are ahead.
Day and night. Masked lap-wings don’t sleep.
Four tiny fur balls scatter open grasslands in all directions are supervised by two adults.
Communication within the parents and their chicks plays a major role to successfully raise their offspring.
Keeping their chicks safe and alive is a prerogative and keeps lap-wing parents on their tip-toes.
No matter what size or shape possible danger may harm their chicks, these brave musketeers have the courage to defend them. Interestingly, masked lap-wings have a broad variety of defence strategies.
They range from deception, misleading and undercover tactics. If all this fails, they raise their swords to attack. I had the opportunity and pleasure to watch a few masked lap-wing parents with their offspring in several locations.
It was an eye-opening experience.
Masked lap-wing chicks welcome our world as tiny and fragile fur balls, barely the size of a ping-pong ball.
They need to eat and grow as fast as they can.
They are the last link of the food chain anywhere.
These little birdies are merely snack size.
Unfortunately, the odds are against them, particularly in human settlements.
Masked Lap-wing chicks are a handful and keep their parents extremely occupied.
They will roam their natural habitat for insects and worms, just as their parents do.
How cute are they?
It is the lap-wing parent’s fixation to protect them.
Their bright yellow mask is a visual deterrent, a flying ninja.
It is only attached to their eye socket and grows with time to an impressive veil.
These birds carry a broad variety of calls, which vary in length and tone.
Their parents retain a careful eye out for their fragile chicks and warn them if possible danger approaches.
Once the parents sound the alarm call, the chicks need to hide, so no one can seek.
Their spotted plumage is ideal to hide-out undercover. A bush of grass will do.
Another chick ran under the gate. This is a very clever move as the wired fence prevents attacks from aerial predators.
If I didn’t see them hurrying to their hiding spots, I would have never spotted them. There, they maintain motionless whilst the lap-wing parents instigate a distraction manoeuvre, attracting attention to themselves.
Even that strategy has different techniques.
They may pretend to defend a fake nest.
Or, acting injured and helpless. Which is by far my favourite. Theatrical!