Common Greenshank catching a prawn

on 25th December 2008

David Tan documented a Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) catching a prawn and, with difficulty, swallowing it. The bird first dipped the prawn in water and swallowed it tail-first, as this would avoid any sharp spines damaging its throat. In all, it took about ten minutes to complete process, all the time having to avoid other birds trying to rob it of its prize.

The Common Greenshank forages mostly along coastal areas, especially where the substrate is soft mud. Its main prey items, according to Swennen & Marteijn (1985), are small fish and prawns. According to Gils & Wiersma (1996), it also takes insects and their larvae, crustaceans, annelid worms, molluscs and amphibians.

The bird usually pecks and probes in the shallow water, walking or sometimes running erratically. It feeds singly or in small or large flocks, diurnally or nocturnally.

Images by David Tan.

Gils, van J. & P. Wiersma, 1996. Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes and Phalaropes. In del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 444-533.
2. Swennen, C. & E. C. L. Marteijn, 1985. Wader feeding ecology studies in the Malay Peninsula. In: Parish, D. & D. R. Wells (eds.), IINTERWADER Annual Report 1984. Kuala Lumpur. Pp. 13-26.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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