White-browed Crake preening and its odd oral movements

“When these shy White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea) offer opportunities, I am grateful to receive them. Four of the six birds were very accommodating. I had extended observations, including many preening episodes.

“A video of 3 separate birds preening is given belowabove

“Note that there are odd oral movements as part of the preening – see the first one third of the video and the images above and below.

“They were very reminiscent of the snipe I posted much earlier that demonstrated rhynchokinesis, except here there is no apparent flexing of the upper mandible LINK.

“I have seen this hyper-extension of the oral cavity with some wetland birds as part of preening behaviour. I wonder if it serves the same function as stretching the leg and wings out (see top)?

The above image shows the birds scratching the head to dislodge lice.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
21th May 2013

Location: Tambun Interior, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Fish farming, ex-mining pools, limestone hills nearby

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