Purple Swamphen – Feeding behaviour, Snails

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

Purple Swamphen-snail-1a-Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia-18th October 2017

“I was driving on a narrow dirt trail in wetlands area of ex-mining pools and water plant overgrowth when I met up with this Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio viridis). It is probably a bird I met a number of times and is rather ‘friendly’. I had an opportunity to watch feeding behaviour for 25 minutes at close range. I stayed in the car and used a bean bag to stabilise the lens and the bird was about 3 meters out the car window – blocked by reeds but generally offering a good observation of feeding habits. The diet of this bird is well established. I want to offer some observations on feeding and some images and video to support it.

Purple Swamphen-snail-2a-Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia-18th October 2017

“This first observation deals with Feeding on Snails:

Purple Swamphen-snail-3a-Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia-18th October 2017

“I saw 2 aquatic snail feeding episodes in the 25 minutes. The mollusc is possibly the Golden Apple Snail (Pomacea canaliculata). It picks the snail out of the shallow end of the pool and takes it to a drier perch to deal with.

Purple Swamphen-snail-4a-Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia-18th October 2017

“Note in the video and the 4 images shown here how the bird uses one foot to help in anchoring snail, offering a firm grip to get at the flesh. At times it needs to damage the shell to gain access of shell fragment in the beak (see the third image from top). It will push the beak deep in and at times open it within the shell.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
18th, 20th October 2017

Location: Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Secondary growth near limestone hills

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