“The same Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) that has a defective upper bill was observed regurgitating a pallet (above)! In other words, it is eating well despite its handicap of a deformed maxillary rostrum. An ancillary close-up shows the side-profile of the defective upper bill (below),” wrote Sin Chip Chye, whose excellent images were documented at Satay By the Bay.
Most birdwatchers and nature photographers by now are well aware of pellet casting by non-raptorial birds.
Pellet casting has been well documented ever since BESG started a website to popularise bird behaviour way back in 2005 LINK. Citizen scientists who contributed to the many posts on this subject were mainly nature photographers who were patient enough to observe birds well after they have swallowed their prey. When Wang et al. (2009) was published a few years later PDF, pellet casting by the following families of non-raptorial birds in Singapore had already been documented with photographic evidence: Strigidae (owls), Alcedinidae (kingfishers), Meropidae (bee-eaters), Ardeidae (herons) and Laniidae (shrikes).
Subsequent to this, other new families of birds were added to our knowledge: Accipitridae (hawks and eagles) LINK; Muscicapidae (old world flycatchers) LINK and Turdidae (thrushes) LINK. It is interesting to note that of these three, two were contributions from BICA members, as by then, BESG were closely collaborating with the Facebook group BICA (Bird, Insects n Creatures of Asia) LINK.
Should anyone wishes to check out postings on pellet casting, simply enter “pellet casting” in the search box on the right side of the BESG page. A list of past postings will appear. These in turn will lead you to the detailed postings.
Sim Chip Chye & YC Wee
1st March 2019
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.