Pink/Red colouration of legs and bill ofPiedOystercatchers

To: "Tim Murphy" <>, <>
Subject: Pink/Red colouration of legs and bill ofPiedOystercatchers
From: "Greg" <>
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2006 18:27:12 +1000
While the 'brains trust' is thinking about red-legged Oystercatchers and Black-winged Stilts (although the stilt's legs are really pink) give some thought to the Black-necked Stork, which also has bright red legs. As far as the suggestion that the brightness of the legs could indicate the health of the bird and therefore its suitability as a mate the following should be noted:

the brightness or redness of the legs changes noticably with the angle of light:

mating and contact displays are carried out in a manner that the legs would be mostly obscured from view;

during hot weather storks sometimes chalk their legs by defaecating over them making them quite pale.

It is interesting that oystercatchers are black or black and white and Black-necked Storks and Black-winged Stilts are Black and White. The White Stork, which is also black and white, has both a black billed and a red-billed race. Some other stork species have red or reddish legs.
Is there a pattern here?


Greg Clancy

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