You are here:

Birds--General/Water bird feeding habits?? (Really?)

Advertisement


Question
I saw a cormorant. I believe struggling with a large eel recently while i was fishing recently. The large 2'eel seemed quite determined to by thrashing and wrapping around the birds neck! About 2 minutes after the bird somehow choked it down entirely... The eel seemed to wriggle/rise desperately to escape the birds gullet stomach many times. And finally the uncomfortable cormorant swam away with what appeared to be the unfortunate losing eel still wriggling away inside!

Sorry to digress, my questions are as follows... So can the bird really manage to digest that huge thing bones and all and how?? Does the unlucky eel stand any slim chance of escaping the hungry birds stomach or is it doomed as food really?!

I'm trying to do a small report on the biological process of how a bird could handle such a meal. Thanks!

Answer
What a cool sighting for you! Eels form a large part of many cormorant's diets.  Most smaller bones can be digested entirely, but larger and thicker bones are not always fully digested. The remains are egested (regurgitated) by the birds in the form of oral pellets,often on a daily basis.

Birds--General

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Robin Keister

Expertise

I can answer questions about bird identification, avian physiology, avian conservation, avian genetics, bird song and music, and injured/ill/orphaned bird rehabilitation. I am not trained as a veterinarian and therefore can NOT answer questions about companion/pet bird injuries or diseases.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.