Letter: On Rufous-naped Lark Mirafra africana 'flappeting' display

Françoise Dowsett-Lemaire, Robert J Dowsett
2005 Bulletin of the African Bird Club  
Letters to the Editor On Rufous-naped Lark Mirafra africana 'flappeting' display In their most interesting paper on the birds of Pic de Fon in Guinea, Demey & Rainey (2004) described a displaying male of Rufous-naped Lark Mirafra africana (race henrici) 'jumping up vertically c.80 cm off the ground with rattling wings'. They believe this behaviour had not been described previously in the species, citing in support (among others) Keith etal. (1992). We have come across this wingnoise display in
more » ... everal races of this lark, most notably in the race nyikae on the Nyika Plateau, Malawi-Zambia, where birds perform such displays quite regularly in the breeding season (observations over our several years of residence there in the 1980s, and also on a shorter visit in November-December 1977). On 5 December 1977, FD-L tape-recorded the noise produced by the wings of a jumping bird, a 'short burst of sound much like that made by the lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea (Dowsett-Lemaire & Dowsett 1978: 142). We also mentioned in the same paper that similar 'flappeting' behaviour was noticed occasionally by D. R. Aspinwall in individuals of other races on the southern Zambian plateau. In addition RJD (unpubl.) noted it in the montane race nigrescens on the Kitulo Plateau of southern Tanzania. The height of the jumps is usually quite short, a few cm to perhaps just under 1 m. Of M. africana malbranti in the Kasai (Congo-Kinshasa), Chapin (1953: 47) wrote: '...Vincent observed the courting flight of a male, shooting up repeatedly from the ground to about 30 feet, where it â€oeburred― with its wings, gave a tri-syllabic whistle, and came gliding down
doi:10.5962/p.309745 fatcat:7pclw4j3pngwzlgqdpmnebh3jy