Cooperative feeding between a Little-black Cormorant and Platypus?

Subject: Cooperative feeding between a Little-black Cormorant and Platypus?
From: Barry Davies <>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 11:15:58 +1000
Recently, at Sharp Park near Canungra in SEQ, Perth birder Mark Newman I saw a Platypus and a Little-black Cormorant feeding together in what appeared to be a cooperative manner. Whilst on the surface they were side by side with their bodies touching. The Cormorant gently pecked the Platypus on the tail and repeatedly ducked its head under the water next to the Platypus's head as if encouraging the Platypus to dive. When they dived they did so in unison. The Cormorant surfaced on average twice to the Platypus one but as soon as they were both on the surface the Cormorant immediately swam to the Platypus, never the other way around. Both animals were feeding successfully as they always had food in their mouths when they surfaced. I assume the Cormorant was feeding on creatures disturbed by the Platypus but I'm sure it wasn't just taking advantage of the Platypus being there, it was actively encouraging the Platypus to dive. The Platypus showed no signs of being disturbed by the Cormorant. Whether or not it dived as a response to the Cormorants 'encouragement' is impossible to say. We watched this behaviour for about 10-15 minutes. Has anyone else even seen similar behaviour?
Barry Davies,
Beechmont SEQ


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