“On 23rd December 2012, I was having a leisurely stroll along Sumner Beach (South Island, New Zealand) when the feeding antics of Black-backed Gulls (Larus dominicanus, Maori name: Karoro) caught my eye. They were patrolling the sandy beach and keeping a keen eye out for live bivalves exposed by the waves (above).

“Whenever one was detected, the gull would extract it from the sand and fly up to a height of 20–30 metres, then let it drop straight down to the compact sand below. This process was repeated until the calcareous shell cracked, thus granting access to the salty and succulent flesh within (above). The smaller Red-billed Gull (Larus novaehollandiae) would often scavenge on any leftovers.

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
17th February 2013


One Response

  1. Tou Jing Yi

    I had once saw this big gull caught a female or juvenile House Sparrow in flight, a pretty surprising act, it does replace the niche of species like Brahminy Kite (mixture of predator and scavanger) in coastal habitats like New Zealand where raptors are non existing or very rare in most of the areas.


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