This Friday the mystery object is coming to you from Plymouth where I am currently attending the Natural Science Collections Association conference. The natural history gallery here has some great material and I thought it might be nice to have one of the specimens as this week’s object. So do you have any idea what this partially stuffed bird is:
As usual you can put your suggestions in the comments section below – I will endeavour to answer any questions, although I may not have much opportunity whilst the conference is in full flow.
Hope you enjoy it!
Extant or extinct?
Extant as a species, as an individual it’s pretty extinct.
Is it Zazu fron the Lion King?
Not quite sure what Zazu is supposed to be, but I’m pretty sure it’s not what this is…
I have no idea, thought it was maybe a Common Crane, if not I’m going to guess at a peacock.
Beak’s a bit short for a crane, bit long for a peacock…
Is it a member of the Ardeidae family (Herons and the like)?
Nope. Look at the leg length….
Yeah, was going for one of those short-arse ones. Can’t all be daddy long legs y’know 😉
Some kind of cormorant?
Beak lacks the hooked tip and the legs are a bit long for a cormorant.
It looks a bit like a bittern to me Pav or possibly a corncrake – I think that the stump it is on is misleading as it looks like a wading bird from the morphology.
I can see where you’re coming from Matt, but the bill’s a bit short for a bittern and a bit short for a corncrake. The morphology of the form may be a bit misleading, since only the legs, head and wings are real, the rest has been build up by the taxidermist and it may not be in the final shape it would have once the skin is replaced. The stump is actually quite appropriate…
What about an egret or a night heron? It looks like a water bird that eats fish and frogs by that beak and the lengths of the legs and neck which look too long for a woodpecker.
Can you give some indication of size?
The image is probably about full-sizeish, say 20cm from top to bottom or thereabouts.
I consulted with the wife, and she said it was definitely a passerine, and possibly a corvid.
So, I searched the, and reckon it’s a carrion crow or a juvenile rook. It could be a hooded crow, but the range is wrong (I’m guessing the bird is local to the south west).
It seems that juvenile rooks and crows are difficult to tell apart, but this drawing, and other comments on the web, lead me to think it’s a juvenile rook. But I’m not 100% sure.
It’s an Oozlem Bird.
It would be a bit tightly wedged in it’s own unmentionables if that were the case…
Come on everybody – it’s a common enough bird in Europe and there are members of the same genus with the same common name that look very similar in other parts of the world.
On that basis, I’ll lean back towards a carrion crow, agreeing with Neil.
A woodpecker of some sort?
Can’t claim any great knowledge of these things, but narrowed it down with the RSPBs online bird identifier thing. The beak looks like the beak of the green woodpecker it is suggesting [it’s only built to suggest UK birds so that’s as far as I’ve got]. A quick scan of images from a well-known search engine suggests that some woodpeckers look a bit like this when stripped of feathers etc.
No, I’m not convinced. Sorry. Was trying to multi-task.
My first thought was some flavor of Corvus, which would seem to fit with your clue. Going to go with Corvus corone, mostly because the bill doesn’t quite look ravenesque to me. Quite prepared to be dead wrong on this one though.