Willet’s Main Course

Last week I filmed a Willet having a meal of seaweed salad. That’s unusual for a bird usually classified as a carnivore. Here today a bird of the same ilk, perhaps the same individual, indulged in a more typical meal of small soft balls of protein, possibly snails or clams that thoughtlessly left their shells open under water.

Note how the bird was able to submerge its whole head, which implies that it could see underwater, so it probably has a nictitating membrane. This kind of deep dipping also suggests that it can seal its nostrils from flooding. Willets don’t have webbed feet, like ducks, so they pretty much have to stay in water shallow enough for them to stand up in. Still, with that limitation, they do very well.


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