Curlew capers

To: "'Steve McBride'" <>, "'Michael Hunter'" <>, <>
Subject: Curlew capers
From: "Greg & Val Clancy" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2020 11:55:55 +1000
Hi Steve and others,

A great video showing otherwise unknown or poorly known behaviour.  In all
of my experience with the species I have only observed them feeding on
crabs, especially Soldier Crabs, but most of my observations have been in
estuaries and rivers and not beaches where pipis occur.  The video reminded
me of Noisy Pittas using hard objects (discarded bottles, rocks) to smash
open terrestrial snail shells.  I also witnessed an Albert's Lyrebird some
years back smashing a large Panda Snail on the roots of an Antarctic Beech
tree in the Border Ranges National Park.   The Stone-curlew seemed to know
exactly where the rock was and I presume that the second bird also used a

Greg Clancy

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus <> On Behalf Of Steve
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2020 12:18 AM
To: 'Michael Hunter' <>; 
Subject: Curlew capers

Hi Michael,
I thought maybe the Beach Stone-curlews learned about finding & digging up
the pipis from the Pied Oystercatchers, but I haven't got any ideas how they
learned to break them open on a rock.

The video was taken with a Nikon P1000, a small sensor super-zoom.  I was
back some distance & zoomed in, to avoid disturbing the action.
The original video was taken at best camera video resolution available, i.e.
2160/25p (3840 x 2160), aka 4K.
I edited the video with (Windows Live?) Movie Maker, which has maximum
output resolution of Full-HD(1920 x 1080).
The camera was handheld, hence a little shaky, but in the editing software I
applied 'Anti-shake & wobble correction', which uses cropping to help reduce
the camera shake. 
After the bird carried the pipi up the beach & started bashing it on the
rock, I briefly stopped the video, to steady my position a little, before
I also edited a little of the smashing out, before combining the 2 files,
but it's all one event, except at the very end where I pan across to the 2nd

Cheers, Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus <> On Behalf Of Michael
Sent: Monday, 13 July 2020 5:08 AM
Subject: Curlew capers

This is an astonishing video Steve, thank you.  The Beach Stone Curlews
Obviously well practiced  in smashing the Pippies   and very persistent.

Two queries;

          Could they have  initially learned by copying some other spp. ?
(Presumably it is a learned behaviour )
           ( We have Aus Ravens softening up  large lumps of hard, stale and
otherwise inedible  multigrain bread by dropping it into the birdbath a few
metres away .
             And of course Kookaburras and Grey  Butcherbitds  among others
softening / downsizing  food by repeatedly smashing it onto the  ground.)
    What camera/phone did you use.  The quality of the video was very good.

                  Thanks again

                  Michael Hunter
Sent from my iPhone
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