[midvalleybirds] Hooded Merganser eats rough skinned newt (?)

Frank Kolwicz fhkolwicz1 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 18:02:01 PST 2019


I'm not sure of the newt, but it had a dark back and bright orange belly 
(photos).

The Hoodie female was observed chewing on the newt for some minutes (I 
could get the time from images, if you want) continuously thrashing it 
in the water until it was finally consumed. After swallowing the bird 
was drinking every couple of seconds for a couple of minutes (best 
estimate), but didn't seem affected during observation for an additional 
10 minutes, so I guess it didn't get poisoned. Perhaps the extended 
tenderizing/washing removed the skin secretions enough for the bird to 
eat it.

My only recollected observation of a bird/newt gustatorial interaction 
was with a Great Egret which was immediately repelled by the newt and 
dropped it within seconds of picking it up. The Egret also kept shaking 
it's head and dipping into the water for at least a minute afterwards.

Hoodies, si/Egrets no! for newt meals.

Frank
in Monmouth


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