Which Australian predators eat young birds?


This November 2018 video says about itself:

Last Pied Currawong chick makes the jump from the nest!

Each day for the last 4 days, one of the Currawong chicks made the jump from the nest. I was lucky enough to catch the last one. It’s a 10 metre drop, and it can’t fly yet, so no wonder it gets so worked up.

Pictures of this year’s nesting here.

From the University of Queensland in Australia:

It’s a bird-eat-bird world

January 24, 2019

Baby birds and eggs are on the menu for at least 94 species of animals in Australia’s forests and woodlands, according to new research from The University of Queensland.

PhD candidate Graham Fulton reviewed 177 existing bird studies across the country, identifying Australia’s most prolific nest predators and the factors affecting nest attacks.

“Predators attacking bird nests — known as nest predation — is the leading cause of nesting failure,” Mr Fulton said.

“Predators are always looking for their next meal and now we know who Australia’s common culprits are.

“In the reviewed research, 94 nest predators — from birds to reptiles to ants — were found to be attacking both natural and artificial nests.

“If you take out the artificial nests, it’s 69 species, and from that data there’s a clear dominant nest attacker in the Australia’s natural environment — the pied currawong.”

The pied currawong was found to be taking eggs and young from 29 different bird species; followed by the square-tailed kite (18 species), the tiger snake (15 species), the laughing kookaburra (10 species) and the grey shrike-thrush (eight species).

“These five nest predators were recorded as attacking a whopping 40 per cent of the prey measured by the number of prey species taken,” Mr Fulton said.

“The other 60 per cent of predation was carried out by the other 64 species, which included, by order of importance: birds, mammals, reptiles, frogs and ants.”

It also appears that the young and eggs of small ‘cup’ nesting birds, like the willie wagtail, are more often on the menu than other birds.

“This is probably because birds like willie wagtails are easily seen in the open, and they’re probably delicious and certainly nutritious,” Mr Fulton said.

“And predation at ‘cup’ and ‘dome’ nests was more frequently reported than at burrow, ground and hollow nests.

“When birds attack, they also prefer to eat the babies of other bird species whose parents are a quarter to a third of the predators’ weight.

“It’s a bird-eat-bird world out there, but at least we now know who’s doing the eating.”

An endangered Queensland bird is at risk of extinction because environmental legislation is failing to protect its habitat, according to a University of Queensland-led study. Researchers reviewed Australian and Queensland laws that protect threatened and endangered species, in light of a more than 80 per cent reduction in the distribution of the southern black-throated finch’s population. They found that despite the protection laws, extensive finch habitat loss has continued to be approved – with more in the pipeline: here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.