Ruff male displaying its plumage, Varanger Peninsula, Norway
© Winfried Wisniewski/Minden Picture
Project 'ruff'-way. Making it work—in Norway
Springtime is high-fashion season for the ruff. In wetlands across northern Europe and Asia, these medium-sized waders gather in marshes to form leks, which are small breeding areas used for courtship displays. Dominant males (also called independents) like the fancy fellow on our homepage, fluff up their colored and intricately patterned capes and collars and mock fight with each other. Their aim? Each wants to secure a prime spot on the lek to showcase his finery and entice watching females to choose him as a mate.