Mulga parrot eating snails

To: "" <>, "" <>
Subject: Mulga parrot eating snails
From: "R.A. & A. Green" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 09:25:46 +1030
Hello all.
At approx 8.45 am today, in sunny conditions,  I watched a male Mulga
Parrot eat two snails which it plucked from the small, dead shrub that
it was perched in. It didn't use its feet, only its beak. Part way
through eating the second snail it was startled by something and flew
away. I went over to where it had been and found two broken snail
shells. One still had flesh inside it. They had been broken at the back
for the bird to extract the contents. The bird was accompanied by a
juvenile which watched quietly but didn't beg or feed while I watched.
The snails were the small, white "Italian Snail" which exists in
millions across in this area and in other parts of SA.
Did the parrot discover a juicy new food source by accident, taken in by
a snail's superficial resemblance to a berry or plant gall? Will its
juvenile now copy this behaviour and pass it on to its own chicks? Who
knows? But the more predators for the pesky white snails, the better!

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