Search

Pellets from Tuas: 1. The pellets

on 20th February 2015

The casting of pellet by certain groups of birds is not too well known– see HERE for more information. After swallowing their prey, these birds regurgitate the indigestible parts that were compacted in the gizzard in a form of pellets. These pellets collect on the ground below the trees where the birds normally perch. Ornithologists collect and study pellets to get information of what the birds had been eating.

Of late, Melinda Chan had been collecting these pellets (below) while Chan Yoke Meng was busy photographing the Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) along the tree-lined avenue in Tuas (above).

The image below of the the exposed pellet clearly shows the bleached bone fragments.

Together with the pellets on the ground were carcasses of half-eaten rodents (below).

The birds responsible must have been one of these three residents of the area: Black-shouldered Kite, Barn Owl (Tyto alba) and Buffy Fish-owl (Ketupa ketupu). All three prey on rodents as well as cast pellets. The question is which of the three birds were responsible for the different pellets found. Owl pellets are generally well studied but not those of the kite.

We hope to provide details in subsequent posts of the pellets collected and try identify which bird was responsible for casting which pellet.

Chan Yoke Meng & Melinda Chan
Singapore
January 2015

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

5 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Categories
Archives

Overall visits (since 2005)

Live visitors
310
4469
Visitors Today
52833514
Total
Visitors

Clustrmaps (since 2016)