Friday, January 8, 2010

Ornithological escargot

Many bird species egest the hard indigestible parts included in their food intake (bones, cuticles, etc.) as pellets. These pellets are expelled from the mouth, and examination of the contents of course gives very interesting insight into the bird's diet and habits.

The following photograph shows such a pellet, measuring about 2cm in diameter, found at Mġarr harbour, Gozo, on the 7th of January 2010. The contents include chiefly exoskeletons of earwigs and large ants, together with one shell of the endemic snail Trochoidea spratti (Pfeiffer, 1846).

According to John J. Borg at Heritage Malta, the size and contents of the pellet may point towards production by a species of thrush or a starling. There are ten species of thrush-related birds and three starlings recorded for the Maltese Islands (BirdLife Malta, 2008).


BirdLife Malta (2008). Birds of Malta checklist. [www document, url:, accessed 8.I.2010]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...