Keith D80user's picture

Bird Pellet

Observed: 20th May 2010 By: Keith D80user

Pellet about 7cm long dry and brittle containing straw, beatle fragments, and 4 whole snail shells these were small and pinkish. No bones or fur. The pellet was on a large wooden gate post as seen in photo.

    Likely ID
    Gull (Larus sp.)
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Kluut's picture

Very odd

The plant fragments look to be the outer scales from tree buds, quite possibly beech, or oat husks.
So, what large bird would eat all that the pellet contains but also pass such recognisable fragments in a dropping, or regurgitated pellet, especially the whole (or nearly whole) snail shell?
The obvious diner would be a galliforme, but they would not pass recognisable fragments.

I can't think of anything likely at the moment............

the naturalist man's picture


Note this is a pellet not a mammal dropping because of the loose structure and the individual parts are still recognisable, there has been little or no digestion. Also the parts are at all angles, when matter passes through a gut it tends to be aligned along the longest axis by the gut muscles.

It is obviously not a bird of prey (no bones and lots of vegetation) so that leaves crows or gulls.

It could be a carrion crow (rook would have more invertebrates and it is far too big to be jackdaw) but, like mammals the matter is often more longitudinally aligned and pointed at each end.

Therefore, I suggest this is a gull, the location also supports this. It is at the upper end of gull pellets so I would hazard a guess at greater black-backed gull but I must stress that is just a guess there is no real way of telling which, hence I've just put gull sp.

Graham Banwell

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