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Lomba Burung Kecepret

On the island of Lombok, I was returning home at night when a group of men on the side of the road caught my attention, engaged in an extremely rare and strange activity for me. It seemed they were performing a rite.

All of them were aligned facing the same side. Very peculiar, sharp and repetitive sounds broke the silence of the night filling me with intrigue because I had never heard or seen anything like it in my life.

So I got off the road, turned the engine off, dismounted the scooter, prepared the camera and slowly approached the scene. This is what I saw.

I distinguished what appeared to be hanging cages. All of them in one line. Hanging by a strip of wood or metal painted black. Each cage occupied a numbered place painted in white and under spotlights that shed an intense light.

I understood that the competition is to see which bird best obeys its owner. The birds are placed under a number of the bar from which their cages hang, their owners line up in front of their respective birds along with several judges with clipboards in hand and the competition begins.

Apparently the judges record how many times the bird obeys the owner. Every time the bird hears its name, it must emit a trill. The judges establish a previous number for example 8, the owners call the bird by name 8 times and the birds must issue 8 trills in rapid succession after each call. The owner/bird pair that achieves it, accumulates points.

Then I learned that they were all quail, I've never seen one before, they are pretty birds, almost like pets.

Recently, scenes like this have been on the rise in several communities in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. Called Kecepret for how the quail trill sounds --pronounced ke-che-pret, here the c sounds like ch.

In several villages west of Lombok, Gunung Sari, Lingsar and the surrounding area, the Kecepret competition is even scheduled to go from village to village.

It is basically a pet that is expected to generate profits with its eggs, but on the other hand nowadays this bird can already produce benefits through its voice.

Now Kecepret (quail) birds are getting more and more admirers, the price of quail, which is generally only five thousand rupees has doubled and even quadrupled. On the other hand, the winning bird of the competition increases in price and will be more expensive.

Definitely a unique experience on the weird side.

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