Ray Turner's picture

Cannibal (almost) Red Crested Pochard

Observed: 23rd January 2011 By: Ray Turner
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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Description:

These birds are again from the LWC collection however the interesting thing was their behaviour.
I first observed this group of two males and two females collectively pecking at what I assumed to be a patch of weed. However as they drifted closer I came to realise the ‘weed' was instead the carcase of a coot – see inset – (LWC volunteer please note). Over the space of some time the birds almost completely plucked the coot. Unfortunately I didn't have time to stay and see if the pochards went on to consume the coot. Also I don't know how the coot came to be dead; was it killed by the pochards or where they scavenging?
This behaviour was witnessed by myself, another birder and later a LWC volunteer leading a group (some of whom were patently unaware of ‘red in tooth and claw'). The volunteer confessed to having not seen this behaviour from this species before.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Tiggrx's picture

We seem to have photographed

We seem to have photographed a lot of the same things on this day http://www.flickr.com/photos/tiggrx/5381612967/

I thought the dead bird was a Moorhen though, don't think coots have the white feather. A strange sight whatever!

Ray Turner's picture

Great minds ...

I think the extensive white on the body is naked flesh having been plucked clean.
The inset photo is an enlargement of the picture with the female pecking the corps which has then been rotated 180 degrees. In this the white front plate and upper mandible can clearly be seen.

Ray

Ray

Tiggrx's picture

on closer look I can see that

on closer look I can see that you're right - it is a coot