Cooperative feeding between a Little-black Cormorant and Platypus?

Subject: Cooperative feeding between a Little-black Cormorant and Platypus?
From: Ronda Green <>
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 21:31:38 +1000
I have seen little pied cormorants and white-faced herons dive for fish behind 
a platypus in Running Creek (Southeast Queensland, near Rathdowney) and often 
see azure kingfishers and cormorants keeping an eye on the platypus, but have 
not seen anything that looks cooperative, and the platypus has sometimes seemed 
quite startled by the birds' actions (and possibly with reason, as both 
cormorants and herons have dived from above rather than from a position within 
the water, and there are often white-bellied seas eagles around)

On 28/04/2011, at 12:00 PM,  wrote:

>> From: Barry Davies <>
>> To: 
>> Sent: Wednesday, 27 April 2011 11:15 AM
>> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Cooperative feeding between a Little-black Cormorant 
>> and Platypus?
>> 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?
>> Regards,
>> Barry Davies,
>> Beechmont SEQ

Ronda Green, BSc(Hons) PhD
Araucaria Ecotours

ph 61 7 5544 1283
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