Monday, July 25, 2011

White-Breasted Waterhen

White-Breasted Waterhen in Candaba, Pampanga

     The White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) is a chicken-like, 11-inch long bird usually found near   water. In the village, it can be found in the near the creek of San Juanico park and by the water hazards of the golf course. Its back, crown, and wings are dark, its face and underparts are white, and its flanks and undertail are reddish-brown. In birding terminology, this reddish-brown color is usually described as rufous. It has a yellow bill and yellow legs with long yellow toes. The long toes help the White-breasted Waterhen walk on top of water plants.

    Seeing a White-breasted Waterhen often requires a bit of patience. Most people usually imagine that birdwatching involves a lot of sitting around while patiently waiting for a bird to show up. Not all birdwatching is like that though. Sometimes, birdwatchers have to hike and pursue the birds they want to see. With the White-breasted Waterhen however, patience and quiet waiting work well. When they are relaxed and undisturbed, they can be observed walking in the open, feeding, and even frolicking in the water. The sight or sound of anything alarming however will send them running into the bushes for cover.

    The creeks of the village and water hazards of the golf course attract all kinds of creatures. My husband and I once observed a huge monitor lizard stalking the White-breasted Waterhens in one of the ponds at the golf course. The White-breasted Waterhens were washing and preening themselves by the edge of the water. They were moving further and further out from the bushes, walking from one big half-submerged stone to another. They were unaware of the huge monitor lizard slowly swimming its way toward them, with only the top of its head showing. Then, just as a Lizard vs Waterhen battle seemed imminent, the Waterhens suddenly noticed the monitor lizard and ran for cover!

    One of the great things about birdwatching is that you can be safe and secure inside your very own village and still have an amazing "Nat Geo" moment. You can witness things that will make you think for a minute that you are in an exciting National Geographic wildlife documentary instead of a cozy suburban village
See more photos of the White-Breasted Waterhen in this gallery .
See photos of the Monitor Lizard stalking the Waterhens in this album !

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