Birds eat amphipods

To: Judy Philip <>
Subject: Birds eat amphipods
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 13:32:40 +1100
Every time I move the potplants in my courtyard, unfortunate little
brown amphipods (landhoppers) are seen hopping about all over the place
- but not for long. The resident Blackbirds rush in and grab all those
that haven't made it back to a cool damp hiding-place. Incidentally,
this is a food source they didn't have back home in Europe, as Wim made
clear.  I am sure that forest land-hoppers are among the food items
taken by Lyrebirds and many other ground-feeding species.
  Richard Loyn once showed a photo slide of a female Blackbird in a
Victorian fern-gully, which was hard to identify because she had a
bright pink beak, like an Oriole's. It was suggested that this colour
had developed because she had been feeding heavily on amphipods and
obtaining a red pigment (I forget its name). Captive Black-necked Stilts
don't get  enough of this pigment in their diet and therefore have pale
legs. I believe captive Flamingoes can also suffer from pallid colouring
for the same reason - in the wild they get it from brine shrimps.
Anthea Fleming  

Judy Philip wrote:
> Wim, if only your amphipods (or even those isopods which you mention)
> had a
> common/popular name!  We could probably get much more involved.
> I suspect that most of us would be really pleased to know more about
> these
> amphipod critters of our region, where they occur, and what they look
> like.
> Could we see them or are these Crustacea (that's what the Web seems to
> say
> they are!) too tiny?  What should we be looking out for?  As much of
> our
> groundwater comes to the surface at very high temperatures, would
> amphipods
> be present there?
> Incidentally, are there any fossil amphipods or are they never
> preserved (or
> not yet found)?
> Just to get back on topic - do birds eat amphipods!
> Regards,
> Judy
> --------------------------------------------
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