Friday, April 3, 2015

Kolea, spring dress.

Pacific Golden-Plovers (Kolea) are magical, large-headed, big-eyed birds that rush around on lawns in Honolulu during winter months, chasing each other from prized patches of turf.  They don't care what humans are doing.  They're busy.

When they arrive from their Arctic breeding territories they usually resemble the bird above, typical shorebird brown-on-white.  This picture was taken in December, when all the Kolea I saw looked just so.  Sometime between late December and late March those in condition to breed undergo a spectacular transformation, becoming black-bellied and golden-backed.

They behave the same way they did in basic brown, ignoring humans while alert for rivals, but look at how they look.



According to  Hawaii's Birds (Hawaii Audubon Society), many of those that remain in the islands over the summer fail to obtain full breeding plumage. Do they experience regret?  Embarrassment?  Relief?

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