Common Greenshank catching a prawn

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 1

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.

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