Thesis topic #2308 - Peckers vs Scratchers

To: "" <>
Subject: Thesis topic #2308 - Peckers vs Scratchers
From: Gary Davidson <>
Date: Fri, 17 May 2013 10:04:00 -0700 (PDT)
In North America I have often seen the Killdeer (Charadrius viceferous) using 
its feet. It uses them in a manner similar to that which Vim has described for 
some gulls. The Killdeer appears to be 'marching on the spot', presumably in an 
attempt to disturb subsurface prey. When this action is performed on a wet, 
sandy surface, it tends to bring up water, which probably also brings up small 
food items. The literature also ascribes foot quivering to this species, but I 
have not observed such behaviour. 

From: Vader Willem Jan Marinus <>
To: brian fleming <>; "" 
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2013 4:16:31 AM
Subject: Thesis topic #2308 - Peckers vs Scratchers

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


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU