Asian Koel regurgitates seed

posted in: Feeding strategy, Feeding-plants | 2

Mark Chua a.k.a. cajuca came across a very noisy male Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) and started photographing the bird. Two of his images showed the bird with its bill agaped. In the first image (left) there is nothing in its mouth. The second image (below) shows a dark, shiny, oval object sitting at the base of its tongue.

The object looks like a seed. Koels have been known to regurgitate seeds some time after swallowing the fruits, especially palm fruits.

For confirmation, I sent the image to Prof Richard Corlett of the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Richard is the first to report koels regurgitating seeds, so it there is anyone who can confirm it, it would be him.

His reply: “Yes, it looks like a seed and koels do tend to regurgitate them. I don’t know why, since a much smaller bulbul would not. Koels even regurgitate figs seeds, in a large pellet, and I don’t know any other bird that does that! I guess it is just possible that it is a shiny fruit going the other way, but a seed looks more likely.”

Further confirmation comes from our field ornithologist, Wang Luan Keng who agrees that the above image shows the bird regurgitating a seed.

The sequence of swallowing as shown earlier is distinctly different from regurgitating. In swallowing, the seed/fruit would not be sitting on the tongue…

Bingo! There are images of birds swallowing fruits, but regurgitating seeds? This is the first image we have that shows a koel regurgitating a seed.

This is another example of the power of the camera in birdwatching.

2 Responses

  1. […] She was alone and quietly picking the ripe red fruits and, as with the imperial-pigeons, swallowing them whole LINK. Once the pulp of the fruit is removed from the seed in the muscular crop, the latter is regurgitated LINK. […]

  2. Sumit Basak

    Hi I am Sumit Basak and I am from india….some days ago I aslo saw this type of behavior by asian koel. One day morning I saw that one female koel regurgitates fruit seed very fastly sitting on a tree beside our house. It regurgitates 8-9 fruit seed within just 4 minutes. I don’t know which fruit’s seed it is….but the size of the seed is alike a marble ball. I aslo recorded the video of regurgitation of seed by that koel bird and taken some picture.

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