Grey Butcherbird kills Spotted Dove

To: "'David Clark'" <>, "'Anthea Fleming'" <>
Subject: Grey Butcherbird kills Spotted Dove
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2019 12:55:00 +1100

Yes but sort of surprisingly the process of hawks and eagles is often also a gruesome, drawn-out process, even though they do have the tools to quickly dispatch prey as large as, or larger than, themselves.  There is so much internet film of this, though mostly involving sparrowhawks and goshawks and their relatives in Europe & USA. Quite commonly they will be plucking and eating the still struggling prey.




From: Birding-Aus [ On Behalf Of David Clark
Sent: Sunday, 17 March, 2019 11:23 AM
To: Anthea Fleming
Cc: birding-aus
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Grey Butcherbird kills Spotted Dove


I have watched Grey Butcherbirds kill and eat Spotted Doves and Blackbirds when we lived in Box Hill.  It is a gruesome, drawn-out process as the Butcherbirds lack the tools to quickly dispatch prey as large as, or larger than, themselves.






On Sun, Mar 17, 2019 at 9:52 AM Anthea Fleming <> wrote:

At about 7.15 yesterday evening I walked out my  front door. A male Grey Butcherbird flew up from the drive and perched on the fence. I found it had been feeding on a Spotted Dove. The Dove's head was missing and the breast had been eaten. The innards had been eaten out from inside the body cavity, so that it was reduced to wings, 'frame', tail and feet.  It was clearly very fresh with blood bright red and still dripping when I inspected the corpse.  The Butcherbird did not return to its prey after I went inside - still undisturbed this morning.
  Spotted Doves often sit on the ground in our drive and pick grit there. I think a Dove is unusual prey for a Butcherbird, but I have read an account of such a killing made by a Butcherbird diving onto a Dove and striking its neck with its bill. I presume it was eaten in situ because too heavy to carry away.

Anthea Fleming
Ivanhoe, Vic.

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