Zebra Ducks foraging for food by vortexing

“The photo above shows a few Zebra Ducks or pink eared ducks (Malachorhynchus membranaceus) with a pied stilt (Himantopus himantopus). The pink ear is clearly visible in a few of the ducks.

“The video above shows a pair of zebra ducks concentrating plankton by creating a water vortex. The typical head to tail position can be seen here.

“The square tip of the spatula shaped bill is also clearly visible. The ducks take in plankton-rich water through the square tip of the bill and force the water out through grooves on the sides of the bills. Microorganisms in the water are strained out efficiently in this manner.

“An Australian Shoveler (Anas rhychotis) duck took the opportunity to help itself to the rich food source as it swam past.

“Another clip above shows five pairs of ducks vortexing for food.”

Teo Lee Wei & K
24th May 2014

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