01
August
2013

Hostile takeover...The Story of a Magpie-Robin King

T5

On the 3rd of July 2013 a war was waged in the forest of Cousin on the border of Territory 5 by the water source. Many a battle has been fought for water and this was a fight to the death...

Leading the cavalry for T3B was Dominant male Red-Orange whilst defending T5 was the war veteran Orange-ShockPink. After a violent battle the younger commander gained victory and although Orange Shockpink fought bravely he was mortally wounded and died shortly after battle ceased.

Old-King-looking-old

Old king Looking old

He will be fondly remembered as one of the greatest Magpie-Robins Cousin has ever known; he has created what is now the largest territory in the realm and sired many offspring. His age at death was 8 years which makes him an old man, he started life in T1C in 2005 and became the ‘King’ of T5 in 2008 and has therefore held supremacy there for 5 years!

His most recent offspring  Black-Orange (aka Hal) is shaping up to be a key player in the realm and is often seen venturing out on his/her own through the forest.

Hal

 Hal

Since the death of Orange-Shockpink a new King has established himself in the territory-White Brown, he has moved from T3B, the winning side, and has quickly asserted his authority over the T5 magpie-robins, in particular the young princes in the realm.

New-King-eating-first

New King

Fights of this sort are common for the Seychelles Magpie Robins. On Cousin there are 10 territories, each defended by a dominant male & female with several subordinates. The territories denote the foraging area for the birds and are therefore defended fiercely. Another reason that fights may occur is to challenge a dominant adult and these most commonly result in the death of the losing bird. This is a natural behaviour and acts as a means of capping the population on Cousin; there isn’t enough foraging space for a larger population and therefore the Seychelles Magpie Robin population on Cousin has been stable for several years, fluctuating from 40-50 birds at all times.

Breaking news from the island: a chick has been discovered in T5 which must have been the last breeding attempt of our lost King Orange-Shockpink. This means he has added two offspring to the island this year!

We will keep you updated of any more breaking news from Cousin Island!

April Burt - Science Officer

 

Categories: Birds, Nature People