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2011-08-07
Great Tit - Parus major - "Eaten" by Pitcher plant.


The Great Tit - Parus major - is a widespread and common species throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia, and parts of North Africa in any sort of woodland. It is large for a tit, has a distinctive appearance that makes it easy to recognise. The Male has a bluish-black crown, black neck, throat, bib and head, and white cheeks and ear coverts. The breast is bright lemon-yellow and there is a broad black mid-line stripe running from the bib to vent. The nape and back are green tinged with olive.

The Pitcher plant is a genus of Nepenthes from South East Asia is a carnivorous plant whose prey-trapping mechanism features a deep cavity filled with liquid known as a pitfall trap. Flying or crawling insects are attracted to the cavity, often by visual lures such as pigments and nector bribes. The sides of the pitcher are slippery and may be grooved in such a way so as to ensure that the insects cannot climb out. The liquid drowns the insect which it then digests.

Nigel Hewitt-Cooper a nuseryman from West Pennard, discovered  a Great Tit trapped in one of his pitcher plants. It is believed to be only the second time such a carnivorous plant has been documented eating a bird anywhere in the world. The other documented time was a few years ago in Germany.

 

 


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