Pellets from Tuas: 9. Black-shouldered Kite removing entrails from mice

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates, Raptors | 0

The series of images in this post show the adult Black-shouldered Kites (Elanus caeruleus) removing the entrails from decapitated mice and dumping the parts on to the ground.

This was done before they started eating the mice or even flying them off to the nest to feed the chicks.

We never saw any adults eating the entrails or even the head.

The evidence from the many pellets found scattered on the ground below and around the nesting tree showed no intact skull except for one much larger pellet with a complete skull. This we believe to have been regurgitated by a Common Barn-owl (Tyto alba) LINK. All the many other pellets that most probably came from the kites (adults as well as chicks) have bone fragments that included jaw pieces and loose molars and incisors. This clearly indicate that head parts were fed to the chicks LINK.

However, an earlier post showed an adult offering a chick a head but the latter dropped it. We have yet to witness a head being swallowed by a chick (or even an adult) LINK. This link also shows entrails being offered to a chick.

It is possible that only older chicks were offered entrails and pieces of the head. It can also be that with more chicks and thus the need for more food, entrails were also fed to the chicks.

Note: Input and images by Chan Yoke Meng

Leave a Reply