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American Robin Removing Fecal Sac American Robins are large songbirds with a round body, long legs, and a long tail. They have gray wings with orange-brown underparts and black heads. This picture shows a parent removing fecal sacs.  <br />
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In this picture, you can see one of the nestlings raising its rear and then the parent removing and eating the fecal sac. The nestlings poop after each meal, producing a white fecal sac. The parent collects the fecal sac and either eats it or carries it away and disposes of it. The sac is made of thick, strong mucus so that the parent can pick it up and carry it without puncturing it. Apparently, newborn baby birds don&#039;t have a lot of bacteria in their intestines, so their poop is safe for the parents to eat - especially for the first few days. This also means that the fecal sacs contain a lot of partially digested food, which the parents can take advantage of nutritionally by eating it. Eating the droppings further allows the parents to give their babies more worms and insects that they find rather than needing to eat this food themselves. But, once the droppings start having more bacteria, the parents are supposed to stop eating them - or so I thought...these nestlings are obviously more than a few days old, and yet the parents are still eating the fecal sacs. I saw this one parent eat two fecal sacs, one right after the other. American Robin,Geotagged,Spring,Turdus migratorius,United States,robin Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

American Robin Removing Fecal Sac

American Robins are large songbirds with a round body, long legs, and a long tail. They have gray wings with orange-brown underparts and black heads. This picture shows a parent removing fecal sacs.

In this picture, you can see one of the nestlings raising its rear and then the parent removing and eating the fecal sac. The nestlings poop after each meal, producing a white fecal sac. The parent collects the fecal sac and either eats it or carries it away and disposes of it. The sac is made of thick, strong mucus so that the parent can pick it up and carry it without puncturing it. Apparently, newborn baby birds don't have a lot of bacteria in their intestines, so their poop is safe for the parents to eat - especially for the first few days. This also means that the fecal sacs contain a lot of partially digested food, which the parents can take advantage of nutritionally by eating it. Eating the droppings further allows the parents to give their babies more worms and insects that they find rather than needing to eat this food themselves. But, once the droppings start having more bacteria, the parents are supposed to stop eating them - or so I thought...these nestlings are obviously more than a few days old, and yet the parents are still eating the fecal sacs. I saw this one parent eat two fecal sacs, one right after the other.

    comments (4)

  1. I had no idea about this behavior, how bizarre yet clever. Posted 8 months ago
    1. Yep, they eat their baby's "diaper". Lots of small birds do this, including wrens and bluebirds. Larger birds like hawks and eagles tend to poop off the side of the nest - even as fledglings. Posted 8 months ago
  2. Wow! Very interesting! I knew they disposed off them but not that they also eat them. Posted 8 months ago
    1. Ingenious, but also gross ;P Posted 8 months ago

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The American Robin or North American Robin is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is named after the European Robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the flycatcher family. The American Robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering south of Canada from Florida to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It has seven.. more

Similar species: Passerines
Species identified by Christine Young
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By Christine Young

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Uploaded Feb 9, 2018. Captured Jun 11, 2017 11:39 in 55 Locust St, Coventry, RI 02816, USA.
  • Canon EOS 60D
  • f/5.6
  • 1/166s
  • ISO400
  • 300mm