The Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata)
A noisy bird, an aggressive bird, it is likely to bully any intruder, even large birds such as Egyptian geese. It can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is an aggressive species, and strongly territorial during the breeding season.
But what I hate about this bird – and I don’t hate many – its behaviour towards its own young is so aggressive, that only a few are likely to survive to adulthood.
I took a few photos of the birds with their young, lucky for them too far away to even throw a stone at them. They chase them, peck at their heads, how any parent can behave such towards its own young amazes me. Actually I hate this bird because of that. I accept that in certain species the young will fight in the nest till one is killed and then the other gets all the food. Natures survival of the strongest… but this is a parent against its own offspring….
I spoke to a pigeon about this and it informed me it closes its eye to such bad behaviour…
It also said the other alternate is to look the other way….
But as it looked down there was a Coot nesting below …
Were there eggs, would any of these survive??? I will be watching to see what happens…
As I sat in my favourite bird hide, the sun heading towards it’s resting place, I spotted the little Grebe had caught a fish. My luck being what it is, not the best place for the bird to be for me to take photos. Did this stop me? No. Did the photos come out as they could have? No. So how did they come out? Silhouettes.
The Grebe appeared to have bitten off more than it could chew, it was struggling to swallow the fish, such that I felt like choking in sympathy for it. It changed the position of the fish a few times, partially swallowing and then spitting it out again. No success, and this caught the attention of the Red-knobbed Coot that was watching the spectacle with as much attention as I was giving it.
The Grebe finally decided enough was more than enough and gave up. The fish didn’t seem in the best of conditions having been half swallowed so many times that it remained fairly still where it was last spat out. Stupid fish, as the now interested Coot had swum over and started to peck and bite the small fish.
I was sure I was about to see the Coot eat the fish, so the camera remained poised for the shot, bad light and all. The Red-knobbed Coot is an omnivore, and will take a variety of small live prey including the eggs of other water birds. But it’s main food in most waters however comprises various waterweeds for which it commonly dives. Would it eat the fish? No, it just made sure it was dead. I wonder if this is normal?
But here are a few of the photos I took of the scene, pity the light was not right, this could have been a fantastic capture instead of a sequence of silhouettes.
Now I’m afraid the fate of the fish was decided, the Coot swam away and I waited to see who was next, who would come for the titbit the little Grebe had left. Who came? Nobody.