Thesis topic #2308 - Peckers vs Scratchers

To: brian fleming <>, "" <>
Subject: Thesis topic #2308 - Peckers vs Scratchers
From: Vader Willem Jan Marinus <>
Date: Thu, 16 May 2013 11:16:31 +0000
I have watched  Wekas in New Zealand feeding in the intertidal. They pick up 
stones etc. (some quite heavy) in their bills and lay them aside, before 
looking what was uncovered below them. And of course Turnstones and Common 
Starlings do the same, albeit with slightly different techniques. Starlings 
gape, while turnstones usually push things aside, or roll up mats of green 
And yes, Purple Swamphens often eat 'out of their hands', almost like parrots.

                         Wim Vader

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of brian fleming
Sent: 16. mai 2013 13:09
Subject: Thesis topic #2308 - Peckers vs Scratchers

On land, Button-quails scrape their platelets with their feet, then peck over 
the cleared ground.

I recall seeing a Buff-banded Rail at the zoo foraging in a kangaroo paddock - 
carefully flipping over the droppings and pecking at earthworms and insects.  I 
don't recall that it used its feet at all.  
But Purple Swamp-hens use their feet a lot - I saw one last weekend pulling up 
grass, taking the bunch in a foot, and then eating the grass from its foot.  
They can chop through the rhizomes of Cumbungi (alias
Bulrush) with their sharp beaks and then use a foot to yank the section of root 
out of the mud - a real feat (?feet) of strength.  The root is then held in the 
foot and chewed with the beak to release starchy juices which are swallowed or 
fed to young birds -  the fibres are discarded.

I have seen a Spotted Crake wading in shallow water - it repeatedly turned back 
to check if it had stirred up something edible.

Anthea Fleming


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