Malabar Trogon, Coorg
When you see someone dressed in a flamboyant waistcoat of crimson-pink, wearing brilliant blue eyeliner to match with the blue lipstick on their bill, you know there’s a party somewhere in the jungle, and this is a gregarious regular on the Page 3 circuit. So you hop across to say “Hello”, and this handsome hunk suddenly blushes and turns his back on you, and sits motionless, praying you’d disappear. If you’re pinching yourself wondering what you did wrong, and if it was your Deo (or lack of it), don’t fret. The Malabar Trogon of Coorg is one of nature’s celebrated recluses. He’s painfully shy, and tries to escape attention by sitting all hunched up and neck-less, like a wandering hermit, earning him the name Kafni Churi in Hindi, referring to a Fakir’s ‘kafni‘ or robe. When he’s not playing coy, he can often be found hanging upside down on a tree limb. While we can be forgiven for thinking that he’s a new convert to Yoga, this upside down asana has a more prosaic function: it is a more convenient way to access his favourite moths, caterpillars, cicadas and beetles. Yoga aside, this hardcore insectivore also flushes them out of the undergrowth and hovers to pick them off, one by one, to be relished on a nearby branch. A well-fed and contended Trogon can sometimes be seen, tail bobbing up and down, singing in a series of resonant and rhythmic single calls. If a female answers and sits with him, rest assured that he isn’t playing the field. It’s most likely his wife, and not someone else’s, as Trogons are monogamous and pair bonds last well beyond the season. So it seems that he’s not THAT shy, after all. You just need to be a female Trogon with a luminous ochre-cinnamon dress to get up close and intimate.