RFI - anvil use by shrike-thrushes

To: "Glenn Holmes" <>, "birding-aus" <>
Subject: RFI - anvil use by shrike-thrushes
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 23:30:45 +1100
Glenn and others,

An item in the Blue Mountains Bird Observers Newsletter from April last
year described a young Grey Shrike-thrush trying to demolish a garden
snail. The observation was made by one of our members Mark Kala, who wrote:

"...this bird, after finding the snail under some flowers, kept hammering
it against the rocky surface of the garden, once having to run after it
when the snail started rolling down a slight slope. The bird caught up with
it and kept pulling bits of flesh out of the shell. Once it steadied the
snail, with the shell still more or less intact, between its feet, pulled
itself up to its full height and gave the snail an almighty whack - without
any obvious result. The bird then flew off with the snail but must have
dropped it almost immediately because a few seconds later I saw it in a
nearby tree looking for something that was easier to get at."

A second observation illustrates a slightly different use for the "anvil"
technique. At a recent meeting another member told us he had watched a Grey
Shrike-thrush pick up a rolled-up leaf and whack it against a hard surface
until it broke open. Out fell a tree cricket, which the bird then ate.


Carol Probets
Blue Mountains NSW

On 11/10/00, Glenn Holmes wrote:
>Recently I observed a Bower's Shrike-thrush killing an arboreal snail
>[Rhynchotrochus macgillivrayi] by tapping it repeatedly on a rock.  It then
>extracted and ate the contents.
>I cannot find reference to such behaviour in shrike-thrushes or whistlers.
>The crustacean dietary items of the White-breasted Whistler I suspect would
>be dispatched in a similar manner.
>Any help gratefully received.

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