Interesting behaviour - Dusky Moorhen

Subject: Interesting behaviour - Dusky Moorhen
From: "Colin R" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 07:38:32 +1000
Hi All

Birding at one of my regular locations this morning - a small artifical
pond in inner Brisbane, Yorke's Hollow - and seeing a Dusky Moorhen
carrying something white I investigated further. It was an eggshell -
nothing unusual in that as I assumed it was carrying it away from the
nest site - although I haven't seen a Moorhen do this before, I know
it's a common bird practice. However, the bird then proceeded to dunk
and peck at the largish (approx half size, hen's egg) piece of shell and
eventually ate it! I'm not 100percent sure it was it's own shell, but
think it unlikely it predated it as there is nothing else that I have
seen that would lay an egg that size in this area. I think it likely
that it was it's 'own' or, possibly, a discarded egg shell from a
picnic-er. It was too distant to be sure, the shell did look very white,
but also looked like it still had dried white albumen attached, as if it
had fully hatched.My gut feeling is that it was its own offspring's
eggshell,but have never heard of a parent eating it's 'own' eggshell?
I'll be keeping an eye out to see if a new brood of Moorhen chicks
appears on the pondin the coming weeks.
Anyone's thoughts?

  Colin Reid
So many birds, so little time...... 

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