Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Sometimes you have to use the gear you are carrying

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Continuing on with Ecuador birds here is one that is truly unusual. This bird, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, is one of the iconic birds of the subtropics. This bird is typically on the “must see” list of most visitors. The males of this species gather each morning and afternoon at specific locations. Often these locations have been used by the birds for decades and maybe even centuries. At these locations the males dance and call each time they come. When a female is ready to mate, she comes and surveys the dancers; when she makes her choice, they mate (about 30 seconds) and then she flies off to build the nest, lay the eggs and raiser her young by herself.
These sites, known as leks, are where most visitors see the birds. The sites are predictable so if you come (visits are usually highly regulated) you will see the birds. They may or may not be in a good location for photos.
What makes this picture unusual, at least for me, is that it was not taken at one of these lek sites. This picture was taken outside our cabin at Wildsumaco Lodge. There was a fruiting tree where the birds would come to feed each morning. The bird was so close that I could not get the entire bird in the frame. It was also impossible to get a completely clear shot, so this image focuses on the head, which is the feature most people find intriguing.
This bird was also backlit; the sunlight was coming from behind the bird. Usually this situation gives images that are less than ideal, but in this case I like the halo effect it has given to the feather crest on the top of his head.
This was shot with a Canon R5 camera, a 600 mm f/4.0 lens with a 1.4X extender giving 840 mm, handheld, at f/7.1, SS of 1/500. ISO of 2500 and EC of +.3. Cropped slightly from L and bottom to remove some distracting leaves. A branch behind the head was also cloned out

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LeegramasCamp Stitch Bird NerdMike Warner Recent comment authors
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Mike Warner

Wow what a bird. And in your backyard! Thanks for the informative description. Definitely a bird with seeing.

Camp Stitch Bird Nerd
Camp Stitch Bird Nerd

Wow! What a stunning bird.!


What an extraordinary looking bird!