The Fruit Falcon of Saint Lucia – 2

The fruits of the chenet grow in bunches on trees, which grow up to 30m high. The Falcon flies past the tree at high speed and snatches one or two of the ovoid-shaped fruit in its talons before landing on a branch. It cuts open the rigid skin of the chenet and peels it off, revealing the tart, tangy, or sweet pulp of the fruit covering a large seed. The pulp is usually cream or orange coloured. The falcon pushes the seed on to the ground and eats the pulp, which is also a great source of liquid for the bird.

The other favourite fruit of this falcon is known as five-finger on St Lucia. Alternative names include Starfruit and Carambola. The falcon hovers near the yellow Carambola and picks the fruit of the tree with its beak. It flies to the ground and eats the whole fruit, which has a tart taste and is a good source of vitamin C.

Due the falcon’s diminutive stature, the bird can’t tackle either pineapples, soursops, or breadfruit on trees, although it will eat these fruit if they are lying around on the ground.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided

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