Skull Island Reborn - Picikk Picture


Odontorallus apteryx

Habitat: Rainforest and tropical woods.

Food: Insects, small lizards, frogs, worms, snails, small mammals, spiders, insect larvae.

Size: 25 centimetres long.

Breeding: 2 or 3 bluish eggs incubated in a mound nest under vegetation.

Lifespan: 10 to 20 years.

Status: Common, but elusive.

The Picikk is an interesting bird, descended from toothed birds like Ichthyornis, evolution has turned it from a flighted seabird into a flightless forest bird. These creatures lead lives rather like a large forest rail, such as the Weka of New Zealand. They are shy, elusive carnivores feeding on many kinds of small prey in the undergrowth, their large teeth allow them to kill and consume prey more efficiently than a typical modern bird, which might try to swallow prey still alive. Picikk will snatch prey and quickly kill it with a swift bite, then hold it with their dexterous feet and tear it into smaller pieces with its teeth, to then be swallowed. The curved, toothless bill tip allows them to dig up worms and grubs in the soil, or to pry off layers of bark in search of invertebrates, but they can also chase swifter prey such as roaches, mammals or small lizards. Though they are often hard to spot, their constant piping calls, which gives them their name, are a sure sign that they are present. Picikk are able to quickly run from danger, and can even climb into the lower branches of trees to escape. They are known to give off a drawn out "Piiiiiciiiiiika-a" alarm call which sometimes gives warning of predators to other animals. As such, they play a benevolent role in native mythology, often being a companion to travelling folk heroes.

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