Sooty Oystercatcher feeding on a crab

This video was documented in Victor Harbor on the southern coast of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia in October 2016.

Video Grab.

The Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus) feeds on a range of marine animals that include earthworms, bivalves, snails, sea urchins and crabs.

The video below shows the oystercatcher manipulating a dead crab to get at the soft flesh beneath the hard carapace.

Interestingly, the limbs were first detached from the body and swallowed. Using its sharp bill like a pneumatic drill, it pried open the ventral soft shell and succeeded in separating the body from the carapace or hard dorsal shell. The soft body was then broken into pieces and swallowed. Any fleshy pieces still attached to the carapace were extracted and eaten. There was no wastage.

With the swallowing of soft shell pieces, it would be expected that these would be compacted to be eventually ejected as a pellet PDF.

Teo Lee Wei & K
17th December 2018

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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.

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