Grey Butcherbird kills Spotted Dove

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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