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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

A Coot Mugging (1 Viewer)

pbgrebe

Member
Numerous instances of thefts by individuals within and between avian species have been observed. Here’s one that I recently observed again that isn’t as popularly known. In this instance an American wigeon was observed following and hanging close around an American coot. Its reason for doing so quickly was revealed. When the coot dove to collect food (plant matter) the wigeon remained at the spot where the coot went under and displayed obvious anticipation in its demeanor. Then, when the coot resurfaced with a beak-full of vegetation the wigeon immediately rushed in and stole vegetation right out of the coot’s beak. This scenario repeated itself over several more dives by the coot before the wigeon finally moved away and left the coot in peace. This is something that I had observed previously between these two species and at a geographic location that is far distant from the episode noted here. I have also observed brants and gadwalls stealing vegetation from coots in a similar manner.
 

jayp

Member
United States
I've never seen that! Cool. The name for this behavior is kleptoparasitism. The classic examples are things like frigatebirds and jaegers attacking other birds until forced to give up their food, but it's interesting to think of it occuring between herbivorous species too!
 

pbgrebe

Member
I've never seen that! Cool. The name for this behavior is kleptoparasitism. The classic examples are things like frigatebirds and jaegers attacking other birds until forced to give up their food, but it's interesting to think of it occuring between herbivorous species too!
Yes, there are lots of interesting examples of this type of behavior. Various gull species are particularly known for engaging in thievery. One of the coolest such instances that I’ve observed quite a few times involved gulls chasing and relentlessly harassing ospreys who had just captured a fish in an attempt to make the osprey drop its prize from its talons…and in few of these cases the gulls were successful. I’ve seen gulls of several species do this.

Given the international nature of this website there must be plenty of lesser known examples of avian on avian theft that readers from around the planet have observed. This would be a good place to share those observations. I’d love to read about them.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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