Here is the first of our videos that will give you a peek at the goings on at the Cousin Island Special Reserve. In this video, it takes some tricks for this tropicbird to get to the well hidden chick. Sometimes all it takes is a little limbo limbo limbo…
It took the intervention of Cousin warden Steve Agricole to stop these two White-tailed Tropicbirds from feuding today. The two were really going at it and Steve decided to separate them before they drew blood. They seemed to be fighting over a nest. The fight kept going on though despite Steve’s attempt to call a time-out. Our two friends kept up the beak to beak combat. Steve was having none of it. He finally picked one up. But neither wanted to let go. Ending in this less than thrilling situation for one of them – hanging off the ground by its beak!.
Close up of beaks
Those beaks are as sharp as a knife by the way, with a jagged inside useful for gripping big, slippery fish. Tropicbirds dive for fish from a height of about five metres. They fold their wings and plunge into the clear water to catch flying fish or squid.
Afterward, the one left behind at the nest continued to make a ruckus and seemed to be castigating Steve for stopping the fight. After a while it settled down, its long tail up in the air. The entire fight happened very fast and I was lucky to catch it on camera.
When not fighting, Tropicbirds can be seen soaring high above the water, their white wings with black patches and long white tail outlined against the sky. On Cousin Island, the only other bird (for me) that can rival their beauty during flight are Fairy Terns.
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