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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 20:17 GMT
Ringtone bid to woo exotic birds
Crested screamers at Washington Wetland Centre
The birds are native to South American marshlands and lagoons
Staff at a Wearside nature reserve have been using a mobile phone to encourage two South American birds to mate.

Washington Wetland centre is home to a pair of crested screamers, which use their distinctive calls to mark their territory and attract a mate.

However, the centre's birds have shown no interest in mating.

A recording of a screamer's call has now been downloaded from the internet onto a phone and is being played to the birds in a bid to get them in the mood.

Warden Owen Joiner said: "They're a prehistoric species and this is reflected in the way that they move - everything happens at an incredibly slow pace.

Mating ritual

"Hopefully the recording will spark something in them and then nature will take its course.

"They are juveniles but at nearly two years old they're old enough to breed.

"They are starting to react to the recording, which is very exciting, so we'll just have to see what happens."

Crested Screamers are native to the marshlands and lagoons of South America.

As part of their mating ritual they preen in synchronisation, show their large feet, and call to each other.


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