Tanimbar Corella: A wasteful eater?

posted in: Feeding-plants | 4

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On the evening of the 23rd July 2007, at about 6.00 pm, I heard a sharp cry of the Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini) coming from the starfruit tree (Averrhoa carambola). The bird is usually shy and will fly off as soon as it sees me. But this time I was behind the glass window of my bathroom about slightly more than a metre away and could observe at close hand. It did eye me on and off but by not moving my head it was not bothered by my presence. It continued picking on the fruits.

The lone bird was perching on the branch. It reached out to a young, green fruit with its bill and expertly plucked it from the short stalk (above left). Then, with the right foot gripping the branch, its left foot moved up to take hold of the fruit. With its sharp pointed bill, it bit off bits and pieces of the fruit along the flange and dropped them below. Then it dipped its bill into the core of the fruit and extracted the seeds inside (above right).

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One by one it plucked the green fruits from its perch, ate the seeds and dropped the remaining fruit below (right). When it finished with the fruits around, it walked along the branch to another spot and did the same. All the time it was eating, it gave out a harsh, monosyllable sound.

For some time now, I have been under the impression that the bird is a wasteful eater, eating pieces and then dumping the rest of the fruit. Obviously I was wrong.

YC Wee
Singapore
August 2007

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