Courtship displays performed at Simnar Nature Reserve

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Courtship displays performed at Simnar Nature ReserveLittle Grebe (Blongun Zghir), Common Coot (Tigiega tal-Bahar) and Moorhen (Gallozz) at the Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija have already started performing courtship displays in what is the first breeding rituals for Malta’s breeding birds this season.

Both Little Grebe and Common Coot have only recently been recorded breeding in Malta. The first successful breeding attempt by Little Grebe was recorded in 2006, then again in 2008 and 2009, while successful breeding attempts by Common Coot have only been recorded in 2008 and 2009.

“The courtship displays by Coot and Little Grebes are very exciting news as they are rare breeding birds for Malta which only breed at the Simar Nature reserve,” said Charles Coleiro, Simar Nature Reserve Warden. “If the attempts succeed then we could expect a brood for Little Grebe as early as January.”

Other birds which may be seen at the reserves include Black Necked Grebes (Blongun Sekond), Starling (Sturnell), Robins (Pitirross) and White Wagtails (Zakak Abjad). These birds avoid the cold and lack of food European winter brings with it, spending the winter in Malta to benefit from a more hospitable climate.

Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija and the Ghadira Nature Reserve in Mellieha are open to public between 10:00 and 16:00 at the weekends till the end of next May. Entrance is free and there will be free guided walks for visitors.

Photo: Little Grebes are displaying courtship behaviour at the Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija and if successful, chicks can be expected in January. Photo by Denis Cachia.

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