Birds, whose feathers have made them extremely adaptable and enabled them to fly, are the subject of programme five. The courtship flight of the marvellous spatuletail hummingbird is shot at high speed to slow down its rapid wing beats. The male must rest every few seconds due to the energy needed to display his elongated tail feathers. Lammergeiers, by contrast, soar on mountain thermals with a minimum of effort. A red-billed tropicbird bringing a meal back to its chick uses aerial agility to evade the marauding magnificent frigatebirds. Some birds nest in extreme locations to avoid threats from predators. Kenya's caustic soda lakes are a perilous environment for a lesser flamingo chick, while chinstrap penguins breed on a volcanic island off the Antarctic Peninsula. In South Africa, declining fish stocks force Cape gannets to abandon their chicks to search for food, presenting great white pelicans with the chance to snatch an easy meal. Feathers can also be used for display. Male sage grouse square up to one another at their leks, courting Clark's and Western Grebes perform an elaborate ritual to reaffirm their bond and thousands of lesser flamingos move in a synchronised display. In West Papua, the small, drab Vogelkop bowerbird uses a different strategy. The male decorates his bower with colourful jewels from the forest, and uses vocal mimicry to attract the attention of a female. Mating is filmed for the first time, the end result of a long and difficult quest featured in Life on Location.
Life is a nature documentary series made by BBC television, first broadcast as part of the BBC's Darwin Season on BBC One and BBC HD from October to December 2009. The series takes a global view of the specialised strategies and extreme behaviour that living things have developed in order to survive; what Charles Darwin termed "the struggle for existence". Four years in the making, the series was shot entirely in high definition.
The UK broadcast of Life consists of ten 50-minute episodes. The opening programme gives a general introduction to the series, a second looks at plants, and the remainder are dedicated to the major animal groups. They aim to show common features that have contributed to the success of each group, and to document intimate and dramatic moments in the lives of selected species chosen for their charisma or their extraordinary behaviour. A ten-minute making-of feature Life on Location aired at the end of each episode, taking the total running time to 60 minutes.
Life is produced by the BBC Natural History Unit in association with the Discovery Channel, Skai TV and the Open University. The original script, used in the British and Canadian versions of the series, was written and narrated by David Attenborough. Source: Wikipedia