The Behaviour Patterns of the Dusky Moorhen, Gallinula tenebrosa Gould (Aves: Rallidae).

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Behaviour of dusky moorhens (Gallinula tenebrosa) was studied during 666 h during 3 months ending in December 1976 near Canberra, Australia. Observations were that the young were fed intensively from hatching to about 4 weeks old then with decreasing frequency to 9 weeks old. Adults of the group of up to 7 birds transferred food to the beak of the brooding adult, which passed it to the young in the nest. Older juveniles approached adults carrying food, displaying a conspicuous yellow patch of skin on the wings, and pecked towards the yellow patch on the tip of the lowered beak of the adult. The young made pecking motions from a few days old but took no food for themselves until they were at least 10 days old. At any one time only 1 or 2 adults of the group took all food they found to the young; other adults fed themselves, and only occasionally fed the young. The young remained with the parents for 5 to 8 months. Adults sometimes fed other adults, the food being exchanged more than 20 times at some encounters. For the first few weeks after hatching the main food items were molluscs, annelids and insects; vegetable matter was included gradually as the young began to feed themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-384
Number of pages22
JournalWildlife Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes


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