RE: Large prey

To: 'Wallaces' <>, 'Canberra birds' <>
Subject: RE: Large prey
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2019 22:46:34 +0000
I have been trying to think of examples of my own but have not been able to
come up with anything to match. Which tells me these are uncommon events.
Yes pelicans eating very large fish but that is sort of ordinary. Is the
ditty of "its beak can hold more than its belly can" correct? Only thing I
can think of is a Rufous Night-Heron eating a Myna or Starling (I've
forgotten) but there was a lot of thrashing about to tear it apart. What is
stranger to me beyond the big size is that birds are happy to swallow
possibly struggling prey, whilst it is still alive and intact. How risky is
that? Sort of related is years ago at the Melbourne Zoo great flight aviary,
I recall being told by one of the keepers, that the collection had included
a Darter but they had to remove it because it kept eating too many of the
other birds. I thought that a bit odd.


-----Original Message-----
From: Wallaces 
Sent: Friday, 22 February, 2019 1:55 PM
To: Canberra birds
Subject: RE: Large prey

Thanks to everyone who responded. As well as examples of birds swallowing
very large prey whole, I got one example of minimal consumption of the prey:
a Purple Swamphen taking a downy Pacific Black Duck but only feeding the
eyes to its chicks.


-----Original Message-----
From: Wallaces 
Sent: Wednesday, 20 February 2019 4:44 PM
To: Canberra birds
Subject: Large prey

  Sometimes birds take prey that seems too large for them to eat. Attached
photo shows a weather loach held by an ibis and a Baillon's Crake with
something I cannot identify. The ibis swallowed the weather loach while it
was still alive (see  ). The crake ran into
the cover so I don't know if it ate its catch (see ).

Large yabbies are also eaten by White-necked Heron (see ).

I know that there are photos of pelicans with very large prey but I thought
I would see if people have photos/observations of other species with very
large or unusual prey.


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