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

on 26th April 2015

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

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Overall visits (since 2005)

Live visitors
Visitors Today

Clustrmaps (since 2016)