Jason Cho a.k.a. jcho documented a Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) catching a long-horned grasshopper (F: Tettigoniidae) and systematically preparing its prey before eating it.
From its perch it spotted the grasshopper about 20 metres away in another tree. The bird immediately flew off and seized the prey with its left talons (above left). It remained in the near vertical perch, the right foot clutching firmly on the branch and the lower leg (tarsometatarsus) of the left foot against the branches, as the toes were tightly gripping the prey.
The wings were the first to be dismembered (above right). Next, the gut or alimentary canal was ripped off and dropped to the ground (below left). Only then did it swallow what was left of the prey (below right).
Once it finished its meal, it flew back to its original perch, gaped widely (below left) and preened (below right) before singing a song.
Note: With many other birds, grasshoppers are eaten without being dismembered, most probably they are very much smaller than this specimen.
Images by Jason Cho.
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