FW: Salt water consumption

To: <>
Subject: FW: Salt water consumption
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:35:38 +1100
An interesting observation Chris.

While some birds may appear to drink salty water, it is also possible that
they aren't.  Some birds dip their head in pools of salty water to irrigate
their nares (nostrils) and wash their head feathers in an effort to get rid
of mites. I'm not necessarily saying that is what the Yellow-tailed
Black-Cockatoos or Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were doing, but it is
nevertheless something that needs to be considered.

On a hot day, it is also a good way of cooling down.  For instance, the Emu
is reliant on drinking freshwater, but will also splash water over its head
and upper neck to keep cool.  These parts of the Emu's body act as thermal
windows where excess body heat can escape. By cooling the skin surface in
these areas with water, further internal body heat loss to the surrounding
environment is facilitated.

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde NSW

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Chris Lloyd
Sent: Thursday, 27 November 2014 9:45 AM
Subject: Salt water consumption


I am fairly sure that all orders apart from passerines have anything from
fully functional to vestigial salt glands behind the eyes. This would be
very useful to Australian birds given the large amount of salt found in
water both estuarine and inland. Having said that I have also see SC
Cockatoos foraging around on estuarine rocks (e.g. below Audley Weir in RNP)
and apparently dipping their bills - closer examination showed that they
were, of course, sampling Sydney Rock oyster au natural. Ciao


Chris Lloyd



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