Re: Dusky Moorhens building nest

To: Andrew Patrick <>
Subject: Re: Dusky Moorhens building nest
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 21:00:41 +1100
Andrew Patrick wrote:
> Today 15/11/98 at Centennial Park, Sydney, I saw some interesting
> behaviour
> from three Dusky Moorhens.
> They were building a nest on the water lillies with one bird (female?)
> sitting on the nest placing pieces of reed around her. The two other
> birds
> were gathering lilly leaves and stems plus twigs from nearby paperbark
> trees
> which had fallen in the water. They would search up to 30 metres away.
> They
> did not search together. When they found a piece they'd run across the
> top
> of the lillies, wings aflutter, back to the sitter. She would take the
> material from their beak and place it around her. On a few occassions
> both
> gatherers were at the nest at the same time yet there was no fighting.
> Has this been seen before? Is it unusual?
> Some other birds seen:
> 500+ White Ibis  with chicks in and out of the nest
> 10 Long-billed Corellas preening in the paperbarks
> 1 Tawny Frogmouth sitting on nest, as it was three weeks ago. No sign
> of
> chicks yet.
> 1 Musk Duck  male displaying (tail fanned, wings flapping under water
> and
> piercing single very unduck-like note)
> 22 Greylag geese
> 3 Farmyard ducks with red warty skin around the eyes. These are not
> Mallards
> (saw 8 of them) and I would like to know their name if you can help.
> Andrew Patrick
> Cumberland Bird Observers' Club
Re Dusky Moorhens
 - Moorhens live in social groups of related birds and all help feed and
guard chicks reared in that group, so I see no reason why a trio
shouldn't help build nest. Probably dominant female and two males. If
you can lay hands on HANZAB, look it up - HANZAB answers a tremendous
number of queries!
  The farmyard ducks with red warty faces are Muscovy Ducks of South
American origin. They can be white, black or pied. Our neighbour used to
have a huge greeny-black drake Muscovy with white flight feathers in
wing, given to standing in our quiet street and hissing at traffic.
People often took him for a swan, so from time to time the local Council
or Wildlife authority rang ME up and accused me of having a protected
bird in custody! On one occasion he helped my husband's gardening, by
accepting about 40 snails one after another.. ended up very full but
still willing. Muscovies will mate with other domestic Mallard type
ducks but young are sterile - just as well as often released on suburban
ponds and lakes. 

<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