Buff-banded Rail taking food from Sandpiper

Subject: Buff-banded Rail taking food from Sandpiper
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 19:52:50 +1100
Hi Philip,
Back in October 1985, I was at Heron Island (North Queensland). The local Buff-banded Rail population was just about flightless but very tame and confiding, hence very easily observed. One day at high tide only about a metre of beach was exposed and I was watching a Sandpiper - Terek from memory - which made a dash and captured one of the fast-moving crabs on the beach. No sooner had it done so, than a Buff-banded Rail rushed out of the undergrowth behind the beach and snatched the crab from the Sandpiper, then rushed back into the bushes. I would class this as active piracy.

The Rails were in and out of the cabins all the time, and regularly ran about in the dining-room in search of scraps. I understand that birds are no longer permitted in the dining-room at Heron Island, on hygienic grounds. Capricorn Silvereyes were also in there at meal-times; lids had to be kept on milk-jugs and sugar-bowls at all times. We also had visits from a white Reef Egret, which accepted chicken and fish from diners' hands.

Anthea Fleming

On 25/01/2013 3:45 PM, Philip Veerman wrote:
Today I was at the the rapidly disappearing (as in drying out) Kelly's
Swamp, in Canberra, one of a small number of local places where many people
have over the past few weeks enjoyed watching all the crakes etc, from which
I will extract this bit of text to the cog list:
One Coot was pecking with no great enthusiasm at what might be the decaying
remains of a fish (or just some biological flotsam). Another Coot standing a
few cm away. The Buff-banded Rail approached between them and began picking
little bits of whatever it was, out of the Coot's beak. This went on about
30 seconds. As in I think 3 times the Coot bent down to shake off a little
bit of whatever it was and when it lifted its head the Buff-banded Rail
pecked at the bits hanging out the side of the Coot's beak. The Coots didn't
seem overly concerned and walked off.  The Buff-banded Rail continued
picking over this bit of whatever it is for another 30 seconds then wandered
off.  Over the next 10 minutes or so they and several of the Crakes walked
past this bit of whatever again and were not interested. They were actively
feeding on many other things.
From one of the hides the highest simultaneous count I got to was 8 Spotted
Crakes (at least 4 or 5 in view for the whole 30 minutes or so that I was
there), as well as two Spotless Crakes and one Buff-banded Rail seen so many
times and in so many places that I suspect there were 2 or 3. The Spotless
Crakes spend much shorter time out in the open mud than the others and one
ran back into the reeds when a Willie Wagtail flew over it.
Philip ===============================

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