Little Visits: When I Grow up I want to be a Black-shouldered Kite

Ha!  Kids today have such ambitions.

For the queasy of stomach, time to click away.

This is just about straight out of the “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” archives.

It was a cold wet morning. However #kneetoo was keen to see how the little Kingfishers were progressing, and we only had a narrow space in the ‘very busy’ diary.

Knowing they had been on the wing for several days, our probability of anything other than a chance encounter were slim to say the least.

Nothing around the now abandoned nest site, nor by the old blackened stump training ground.

I managed a sighting of a small blue blur in the forest and headed over for a looksee.  And sure enough a young one perched among the branches of a black wattle.

Then with no warning, an adult turned up with quite a large bundle.  And at first it was difficult to make out.  Not a large skink or beetle.
Are they really legs, or is it a fish tail I could see?

Then she flipped it about in the air and it was a mouse! No way!

At first the young one didn’t seem all that interested, but after a few more flips and attempts to turn it round so the small end would go down first the adult presented it to the young one.

Now on an aside, your average field-mouse is around 20gm. Your average grown Sacred Kingfisher might come in a touch over 30gm.  So I’m guessing the little dude was at best, 25gm.
UPDATED: HANZAB give the bird a weight of 55g which would be a more reliable weight I think.  Still give the little dude 35gm and it’s going to be a 55gm tubby blue blob for awhile. 🙂

It took the mouse head first, not headfirst, even that suits. 🙂

And so began a 10-15 minute battle for the young one to eventually ingest the mouse.
On quite a number of occasions, it had to stop, and I guess catch its breath, or simply rearrange the internal spaces to make space.

A couple of times it began swaying back and forth on the branch, and I feared it was going to choke and fall off the branch. Not much in my skill set for resuscitating a downed Kingfisher.

And slowly—very slowly—the mouse began to disappear.

After it was all over, a tubby little kingfisher gave a few shakes of its body, to rearrange all the feathers and no doubt the internals, and then sat. More likely squatted.

A few minutes quietly sitting to let the digestion process begin, and a tubby blue blur sped off through the forest.

Where is Ripley when you need him?

9 thoughts on “Little Visits: When I Grow up I want to be a Black-shouldered Kite

  1. Wow! If you had have told me without the images I would have thought you were having me on!
    Amazing to see! And amazing how it could eat almost its own body weight!
    Superb shots, David!

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  2. What a remarkable series of captures David, as it was also for the Kingfisher to catch, lift and ingest such large prey. Who would have listed the Kingfisher having raptor like capacity, though the Kookaburra is a mouse eating bird of the same family., but larger. You did well to catch that window of time and see this remarkable event. Well done again !

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  3. Hello Ashley, I guess the sense of awe is in the tiny bird being able to somehow swallow the mouse. I guess we see them with small skinks, tiny fish and lots of beetles and conclude that is the staple diet.
    Perhaps not so uncommon as I first believed as the venerable HANZAB lists mice and small birds among the item on the menu.
    Nevertheless, it is quite a feat for it HANZAB also weighs them in at a more respectable 55gm. So it might not be such a feat.
    Seriously worried it was going to fall of the branch. 🙂

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  4. OK, I’ve thought I’ve seen it all. Little Black Cormorant swallowing an eel twice as long as its body…
    NO WAY! This lovely Kingfisher youth gulping a whole mouse is too much… and flying away shortly with this furry load in its little beautifully feathered body is simply unbelievable.
    David, you’ve proven again lots of things to me with these amazing shots. I suppose too many to swallow.

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