Asian Koel regurgitates seed

on 19th January 2009

Mark Chua a.k.a. cajuca came across a very noisy male Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) and started photographing the bird. Two of his images showed the bird with its bill agaped. In the first image (left) there is nothing in its mouth. The second image (below) shows a dark, shiny, oval object sitting at the base of its tongue.

The object looks like a seed. Koels have been known to regurgitate seeds some time after swallowing the fruits, especially palm fruits.

For confirmation, I sent the image to Prof Richard Corlett of the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Richard is the first to report koels regurgitating seeds, so it there is anyone who can confirm it, it would be him.

His reply: “Yes, it looks like a seed and koels do tend to regurgitate them. I don’t know why, since a much smaller bulbul would not. Koels even regurgitate figs seeds, in a large pellet, and I don’t know any other bird that does that! I guess it is just possible that it is a shiny fruit going the other way, but a seed looks more likely.”

Further confirmation comes from our field ornithologist, Wang Luan Keng who agrees that the above image shows the bird regurgitating a seed.

The sequence of swallowing as shown earlier is distinctly different from regurgitating. In swallowing, the seed/fruit would not be sitting on the tongue…

Bingo! There are images of birds swallowing fruits, but regurgitating seeds? This is the first image we have that shows a koel regurgitating a seed.

This is another example of the power of the camera in birdwatching.

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

  1. Hi I am Sumit Basak and I am from india….some days ago I aslo saw this type of behavior by asian koel. One day morning I saw that one female koel regurgitates fruit seed very fastly sitting on a tree beside our house. It regurgitates 8-9 fruit seed within just 4 minutes. I don’t know which fruit’s seed it is….but the size of the seed is alike a marble ball. I aslo recorded the video of regurgitation of seed by that koel bird and taken some picture.

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