raptor prey (was sea eagle observation)

Subject: raptor prey (was sea eagle observation)
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2008 12:29:49 +1000
I have also been interested in raptor eating habits, and have noticed that
Penny Olsen, in her book "Australian Birds of Prey", states that may raptors
prefer the brain and breast to the other bits.  So perhaps the missing heads
are a result of the raptor taking off with the best part.



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Coghlan, Nigel <>
Date: Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 7:40 PM
Subject: raptor prey (was sea eagle observation)

I have quite regular observations of a pair Peregrines where I work at
Mascot, and am occasionally treated to seeing them hunt as a pair. Most
of the time they leave behind a pigeon carcass, and it's nearly always
as Jill has described. Lately, rainbow lorikeets have become part of the

Occasionally they rip the wings off completely, and they can be found
amongst the 'circle of feathers' that the Peregrine leaves behind if
they feed on the ground and not from a perch.

On Monday I witnessed the pair of them take a Silver Gull down in
flight. The gull didn't make much of an effort to get away, and it was
an easy kill. The Peregrine landed about 50 metres from the initial
catch location, and with one talon around the gulls neck and one on the
ground, stood proudly while the second bird watched from a light tower.
Within a minute the gull stopped moving and the falcon started taking it
apart from the breast area, ripping the feathers away.

I'm guessing the gull wasn't terribly tasty, as the falcon abandoned it,
leaving behind a mostly whole, barely eaten carcass.

I've not been able to observe the feeding habits of other birds of prey,
so can't help with that.



Jill wrote

This morning I was birdwatching with the Illawarra Bird Club and we saw
carcass, probably a wood duck. I thought it had been taken by a
because of the neat way the flesh was stripped from the breastbone and
with the head missing and not much else taken off the carcass, which was
on it's back with both wings, legs and lower part of the body  pretty

I've seen a carcass of a feral pigeon that looked to have been eaten in
same way, and that was by a Peregrine.

Can anyone tell me whether this is characteristic of Peregrines, or
would other
raptors (eg accupiters, other falcons) eat in the same way?

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