KC Tsang recently photographed a Red-legged Crake (Rallina fasciata) feeding on earthworms. The crake, having pulled the worm out of the ground, proceeded to smash it on the ground to stun or kill it before swallowing. “I guess this is instinctive,” says KC, “to ensure that the prey will not be able to wriggle free when swallowing it. The hitting of the worm on the ground was so violent that particles of sand flew up, some of which remained stuck to the bird’s bill and forehead.”
An earlier post describes a crake catching worms among the leaf litter in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Red-legged Crakes commonly forage in such a habitat, using its bill to turn over leaves and small stones to get at invertebrates. The sharp pointed bill also enables the bird to probe the soft soil for earthworms.