Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Frogmouth killed by cat

While checking the Tawny Frogmouth nest sites I came across these remains below one of the nests.

This is the wing, and plucked feathers of a male Tawny Frogmouth, which has been killed by a cat while incubating eggs in a nest above. The wing has been bitten off, as have the larger flight feathers. The ends of the shafts can be seen to be snapped, rather than pulled out - indicative of a mammalian predator (it could have a been by a reptile, e.g. a goanna, but there are none in the area). The only other mammal which plucks its prey this way in the Canberra region would be the red fox, but as the bird was killed on its nest up a tree, I suspect it was more likely a cat. Brush-tailed Possums probably take frogmouth eggs and chicks, although I don't think they would be capable of catching an adult. If anyone has better knowledge I would like to know.

This pair of frogmouths had a part-built nest for several weeks, and only laid a day or so before the male was killed. Several pairs have failed in their breeding attempts already this year, some not even laying eggs, and some home ranges seem to be abandoned. Scarcity of food? It has been a cool, dry Spring, so perhaps there are fewer invertebrates for them to eat.

Life is tough enough without feral cats.

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