Common Kingfisher casts a pellet

on 29th September 2018

William Chua’s image of a Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) atop a lotus fruit (Lelumbo nucifera) casting a pellet was documented at Satay by the Bay, the food establishment at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.

The dramatic image shows the kingfisher gaping widely with its tongue sticking out and the sizable pellet that just emerged from its throat, frozen for posterity.

The Common Kingfisher is one of the many species stalked by photographers, first as images, then as videos for more exciting viewing.

Birdwatchers have always known that raptors and owls cast pellets consisting of compacted undigested materials like feathers, bones, hairs, etc. It was only after Chan Yoke Meng’s posting of his images of a Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) casting a pellet in April 2006 that they slowly became aware of pellet casting by non-raptorial birds LINK.

The subsequent publication of the paper by Wang et al. (2009) PDF encouraged photographers to seek out pellet-casting among birds other than raptors and owls.

Photographers should now keep an eye on pellet casting by shorebirds like curlews, greenshanks, plovers, rails and sandpipers. Also, gulls, crows and herons…

William Chua & YC Wee

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behaviour through photography and videography to a wider audience.

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

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