Am being presumptuous in assuming you have already read my write ups WINTER GUESTS and THE FEAST before you read this post and are thus well acquainted with the graceful DEMOISELLE CRANES.
Thus while at the Khurja Resort at Kichan attempting to photograph these lovely Cranes flying near a cluster of Milkweed ( or Aak in Hindi) shrubs, I spot a movement from the corner of my eyes.
However, these dainty guests from lands as far away as Turkey totally ECLIPSE your vision in Kichan .
A flash of blue and a brief movement of the flowers again diverts me and compels me to zoom onto the Milkweed shrub.
I was in for a lovely surprise indeed, a tiny Purple Sunbird was flirting with the flowers of the Milkweed.
The Male Purple Sunbird ( English) ,Cinnyris asiaticus asiaticus ( Scientific name) or Mor Nektarkuşu ( Turkish) is captured on camera in ECLIPSE PLUMMAGE.( i.e: when they are not breeding) . Do see the picture below.
The male Sunbird is a light canary yellow on the underside speckled with a brilliant glossy Royal Blue Plumage on the back.
The Purple Sunbird is Native to large tracts of Asia including Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and SouthEast Asia.
During the breeding when it is not “eclipsed” the plummage is a formal ALL black except when the sun rays bounce of its back revealing a Spectacular Glossy Blue.
The Sunbird is like the Hummingbirds of the Americas and can hover over flowers.
However this gentleman preferred to select a perch ( lucky for photographer me) on the flowerstalk before it took a sip.
Had I taken only the picture below it would be difficult to identify the sex of the Sunbird .The females have only a Yellow – dull brown plumage with no trace of the Royal Glossy Blue feathers seen on the male.
The Sunbird is an extremely vital pollinator for many species as it ensures fertilization carrying millions of pollen on its body and head.
The long curved scimitar like beak helps it drink the nectar from the flowers of the Milkweed ( Scientific name Calotropis procera ) which grow allover in the deserts of Rajasthan.
This is another example of a naturally occurring Symbiotic relationship.
The large leaves of the hardy Aak ( Hindi) or Milkweed ( English) eclipse this solitary, beautiful MALE PURPLE SUNBIRD. Do check out previous blogs on this lifesaving Plant of the Desert titled THE DESERT BLOOMS and ENCHANTED BY THE RAIKA.
It was a first for me to photograph this enchanting Sunbird in non breeding plumage that was nearly ECLIPSED by the much larger , more numerous and very vocal DEMOISSELE CRANES ( Khurja) .