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Jan-Michael Breider | profile | all galleries >> Lekking Birds tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Lekking Birds

Lekking is a curious variation on promiscuous mating. This word of Swedish derivation, describes a pattern of mating behaviour seen only in a small number of birds around the world.
A lek is a gathering of males for the purposes of competitive mating display. Leks assemble before and during the breeding season, on a daily basis. The same group of males meet at a traditional place and take up the same individual positions on an arena, each occupying and defending a small territory or court. Intermittently or continuously, they spar individually with their neighbors or put on extravagant visual or aural displays (mating "dances" or gymnastics, plumage displays, vocal challenges, etc.). Females come to these arenas to choose mates when the males' hierarchy has become established, and preferentially mate with the dominants in the centre. The term was originally used most commonly for Black Grouse (orrlek) and for Capercaillie (tjäderlek). In Europe there are only four species of birds with this kind of display – Black Grouse, Cappercaillie, Ruff and Great Snipe.

Together with Henrik Karlsson from Kalmar I try to photograph "lekking birds" as a small project and more pictures of these species will hopefully turn up later on.....
The very last frosty morning this year at the Black Grouse lekking place
The very last frosty morning this year at the Black Grouse lekking place
Capercaillie lekking - aggressive to people and full of hormones - Hemmesjö
Capercaillie lekking - aggressive to people and full of hormones - Hemmesjö
Capercaillie on lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie on lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie on lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie on lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie on lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie on lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie display on an anthill - Uppland
Capercaillie display on an anthill - Uppland
Capercaillie jumping on lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie jumping on lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie on a pine lekking place - Uppland
Capercaillie on a pine lekking place - Uppland
Fighting Capercaillies in deep Labrador tea vegetation
Fighting Capercaillies in deep Labrador tea vegetation
Male Capercaillie feeding on pine needles - Uppland
Male Capercaillie feeding on pine needles - Uppland
Capercaillie display at dawn
Capercaillie display at dawn
Capercaillie displays at the lekking place - Västmanland Sweden
Capercaillie displays at the lekking place - Västmanland Sweden
Male Capercaillie display - Västmanland
Male Capercaillie display - Västmanland
Capercaillie in wild Rosemary - Västmanland
Capercaillie in wild Rosemary - Västmanland
A female Capercaillie appears at the lekking place
A female Capercaillie appears at the lekking place
Courtship of the female - Västmaland
Courtship of the female - Västmaland
A male Capercaillie deep in the forest - Västmanland
A male Capercaillie deep in the forest - Västmanland
A dominant male arriving to the lekking place
A dominant male arriving to the lekking place
Capercaillie jumping trying to attract a female - Västmanland
Capercaillie jumping trying to attract a female - Västmanland
Male Capercaillie jumping
Male Capercaillie jumping
Winter or spring? A Capercaillie is lekking in late spring snowfall
Winter or spring? A Capercaillie is lekking in late spring snowfall
Capecaillies display very early in the morning
Capecaillies display very early in the morning
Capecaillies display deep in the forrest
Capecaillies display deep in the forrest
Capecaillies display
Capecaillies display
A male Capercaillie  courting a female bird
A male Capercaillie courting a female bird
Cappercaillie on display - Småland
Cappercaillie on display - Småland
Male Cappercaillie on display
Male Cappercaillie on display
The Cappercaillie male makes a jump during it`s display
The Cappercaillie male makes a jump during it`s display
Male Cappercaillie - Småland
Male Cappercaillie - Småland
Male Cappercaillie - Småland
Male Cappercaillie - Småland
Male Cappercaillie - Småland
Male Cappercaillie - Småland
Female Cappercaillie close to a lekking place in Västmanland
Female Cappercaillie close to a lekking place in Västmanland
Female Cappercaillie passing a road close to a lekking place in Västmanland
Female Cappercaillie passing a road close to a lekking place in Västmanland
Black Grouse on display - the perfect bird....
Black Grouse on display - "the perfect bird"....
The very last frosty morning this year at the Black Grouse lekking place
The very last frosty morning this year at the Black Grouse lekking place
Black Grouse lit by the first sun rays this morning...
Black Grouse lit by the first sun rays this morning...
Trying to impress on the females on lekking place today!
Trying to impress on the females on lekking place today!
Black Grouse lekking fight
Black Grouse lekking fight
Black Grouse lekking fight
Black Grouse lekking fight
Black Grouse lekking fight
Black Grouse lekking fight
Black Grouse lekking fight
Black Grouse lekking fight
Early morning breath...
Early morning breath...
Finally - It`s springtime!! Black Grouse lekking after a long winter
Finally - It`s springtime!! Black Grouse lekking after a long winter
Fighting Black Grouses
Fighting Black Grouses
Fighting Black Grouses
Fighting Black Grouses
This is what is left after a Goshawk entered the lekking place...
This is what is left after a Goshawk entered the lekking place...
The female Goshawk just had a Black Grouse for breakfast - and the others are still lekking...
The female Goshawk just had a Black Grouse for breakfast - and the others are still lekking...
Female Goshawk just had a Black Grouse for breakfast!!!
Female Goshawk just had a Black Grouse for breakfast!!!
The Goshawk has captured the Black Grouse and is holding it tight with the claws
The Goshawk has captured the Black Grouse and is holding it tight with the claws
A female Goshawk is killing a male Black Grouse 25 minutes before sunrise
A female Goshawk is killing a male Black Grouse 25 minutes before sunrise
A beautiful mail Black Grouse
A beautiful mail Black Grouse
So I finally got it....... Mating Black Grouse at the lekking place
So I finally got it....... Mating Black Grouse at the lekking place
A rainy fight (First photo with my new Canon Eos-5D MkIII)
A rainy fight (First photo with my new Canon Eos-5D MkIII)
Taking a short break from lekking
Taking a short break from lekking
Bitterly cold and snowstorm during Easter but the Black Grouse does not care
Bitterly cold and snowstorm during Easter but the Black Grouse does not care
Bitterly cold and snowstorm during Easter but the Black Grouse does not care
Bitterly cold and snowstorm during Easter but the Black Grouse does not care
Bitterly cold and snowstorm during Easter but the Black Grouse does not care
Bitterly cold and snowstorm during Easter but the Black Grouse does not care
Bitterly cold and snowstorm during Easter but the Black Grouse does not care
Bitterly cold and snowstorm during Easter but the Black Grouse does not care
A male Grouse is jumping to impress some females (2 photos)
A male Grouse is jumping to impress some females (2 photos)
Moving around at the lekking place
Moving around at the lekking place
The most attractive male on the lek?
The most attractive male on the lek?
Black Grouse (Orre) arriving to the lekking place at the bog
Black Grouse (Orre) arriving to the lekking place at the bog
Black Grouse (Orrar) fighting in the morning after the last snowstorm in march
Black Grouse (Orrar) fighting in the morning after the last snowstorm in march
Female attraction! The male Black Grouses gathering around a female visiting the lekking place
Female attraction! The male Black Grouses gathering around a female visiting the lekking place
A female Black Grouse
A female Black Grouse
Black Grouse male
Black Grouse male
First spring Black Grouse female takes part in the lek on the bog
First spring Black Grouse female takes part in the lek on the bog
A female Black Grouse sitting above Henrik Karlssons hide
A female Black Grouse sitting above Henrik Karlssons hide
Black Grouse early spring fight
Black Grouse early spring fight
Black Grouse making a short fight
Black Grouse making a short fight
Black Grouse jumping as a part of the lek
Black Grouse jumping as a part of the lek
Last Black Grouse (for my season) leaving the lekking area
Last Black Grouse (for my season) leaving the lekking area
Black Grouse fight
Black Grouse fight
Oohh that hurts!  Black Grouse headbanging.....
Oohh that hurts! Black Grouse headbanging.....
Black Grouse Rock`n Roll
Black Grouse Rock`n Roll
Black Grouse Rock`n Roll 2
Black Grouse Rock`n Roll 2
Black Grouse Kickboxing...
Black Grouse Kickboxing...
It is hard to be a male Black Grouse.... (notice the piece of feathers in the right birds bill!!!)
It is hard to be a male Black Grouse.... (notice the piece of feathers in the right birds bill!!!)
It really hurts....
It really hurts....
A female Black Grouse entering the lekking place (makes the males go mad!)
A female Black Grouse entering the lekking place (makes the males go mad!)
The male display flashing the white underwings
The male display flashing the white underwings
Flying attack!
Flying attack!
Black Grouses preparing for attack
Black Grouses preparing for attack
A beautiful male Black Grouse
A beautiful male Black Grouse
The most beautiful male Black Grouse
The most beautiful male Black Grouse
Hard fighting in a wet place
Hard fighting in a wet place
Two males fighting (notice the piece of herb in the air)
Two males fighting (notice the piece of herb in the air)
Two males trying to impress the other
Two males trying to impress the other
Ouch!!! A real punch in the stomach....
Ouch!!! A real punch in the stomach....
Take a close look at your enemy.....
Take a close look at your enemy.....
A male Black Grouse in perfect spring plumage
A male Black Grouse in perfect spring plumage
The lek has been  going on for nearly one hour when the first sunlight arrives...
The lek has been going on for nearly one hour when the first sunlight arrives...
Extreme backlight in The Grouse lekking place
Extreme backlight in The Grouse lekking place
The first rays of morning light reaches a Black Grouse
The first rays of morning light reaches a Black Grouse
Leaving the lekking place late morning
Leaving the lekking place late morning
Making the famous thooyssch-sound...
Making the famous thooyssch-sound...
This is the line - This is my spot!
This is the line - This is my spot!
Gathering early in the morning on the lekking place in the middle of the bog
Gathering early in the morning on the lekking place in the middle of the bog
Black Grouse portrait
Black Grouse portrait
Grouses gliding together into the lekking area
Grouses "gliding" together into the lekking area
Black Grouse fight
Black Grouse fight
Male Black grouse in early morning light visiting the lekking place (-18 degrees below C)
Male Black grouse in early morning light visiting the lekking place (-18 degrees below C)
A migrating flock of Male and female Ruffs (Philomachus pugnax) arriving at Liminka in Finland
A migrating flock of Male and female Ruffs (Philomachus pugnax) arriving at Liminka in Finland
Dancing fight on Ruff lekking place in northern Finland
"Dancing fight" on Ruff lekking place in northern Finland
A male Ruff doing a Spread-Eagle on the lekking place
A male Ruff doing a "Spread-Eagle" on the lekking place
A flooded tractor road becomes a temporary lekking place for migrating Ruffs in Liminkalahti
A flooded tractor road becomes a temporary lekking place for migrating Ruffs in Liminkalahti
Shout it out or spit it out?? A male Ruff drinking water
Shout it out or spit it out?? A male Ruff drinking water
Male Ruff dancing at lekking place (5 pictures collage)
Male Ruff "dancing" at lekking place (5 pictures collage)
A beautiful male Ruff
A beautiful male Ruff
Royal plumage - perhaps the most beautiful Ruff in Liminka 2012
"Royal plumage" - perhaps the most beautiful Ruff in Liminka 2012
Portaits of different Ruff male breedingplumages
Portaits of different Ruff male breedingplumages
Portaits of different Ruff male breedingplumages
Portaits of different Ruff male breedingplumages
Ruffs preparing to mate
Ruffs preparing to mate
Ruffs mating
Ruffs mating
Ruffs just after mating
Ruffs just after mating
A Ruff male trying to mate with another male!!!
A Ruff male trying to mate with another male!!!
Migrating male Ruffs entering the local lekking place in Liminka
Migrating male Ruffs entering the local lekking place in Liminka
The last Ruff (?) in Liminka trying to impress on passing females
The last Ruff (?) in Liminka trying to impress on passing females
The last Ruff (?) in Liminka trying to impress on passing females
The last Ruff (?) in Liminka trying to impress on passing females
Migrating Ruffs gathering on a temporary lekking place
Migrating Ruffs gathering on a temporary lekking place
Two migrating Ruffs are lekking in Limingalahti - Finland
Two migrating Ruffs are lekking in Limingalahti - Finland
A male Ruff very interested in two females
A male Ruff very interested in two females
A male Ruff in lekking plumage at dusk
A male Ruff in lekking plumage at dusk
Female Ruffs at dusk
Female Ruffs at dusk
Rffs in lekking plumage has arrived at the fields in Liminka - Finland
Rffs in lekking plumage has arrived at the fields in Liminka - Finland
Dancing Great Snipes on a remote lekkingplace in Norway
"Dancing" Great Snipes on a remote lekkingplace in Norway
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) Norway
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) Norway
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) in midnight light
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) in midnight light
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) on display
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) on display
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) flashing underparts of wings
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) flashing underparts of wings
The Great Snipe making it`s display just flashing the wings
The Great Snipe making it`s display just flashing the wings
Great Snipe flashing wings
Great Snipe flashing wings
Two Great Snipes (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) starting a fight
Two Great Snipes (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) starting a fight
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) running like a mouse between different parts of the lekkingplace
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) running like a mouse between different parts of the lekkingplace
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) jumping
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) jumping
Two Great Snipes (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) fighting
Two Great Snipes (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) fighting
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) in early summer vegetation
Great Snipe (Dubbelbeckasin - Gallinago media) in early summer vegetation
Great Snipe in a classic pose at midnight
Great Snipe in a classic pose at midnight
Great Snipe in late evening light
Great Snipe in late evening light
Great Snipe - Anesthetists view....
Great Snipe - Anesthetists view....
Two Great Snipes challenging each other
Two Great Snipes challenging each other