Yesterday morning, whilst waiting for the Britomart train at Sunnyvale Railway Station in West Auckland, I noted a Kingfisher perched on one of the overhead electric cables. The Kingfisher was being mobbed by a Song Thrush with loud alarm calls & much wing flapping. Whilst this was happening, another Song Thrush appeared carrying an earthworm & flew down to the side of the rail tracks & attempted to feed a large & begging Song Thrush fledgling. Next the perched Kingfisher flew down to the Song Thrush fledgling & attempted to steal the earthworm now followed by two protesting adult Song Thrushes. By now there was much alarm calling & a second Kingfisher appeared, but I was unable to see whether the Kingfishers had snatched the earthworm from the Song Thrush fledgling. Unfortunately, my train then arrived & I was unable to observe any further action.
Just wondering whether anyone else has seen any similar interactions ?
It appeared that the Kingfishers intent was Kleptoparasitism rather than attempted predation of the Song Thrush fledgling, as the Song Thrush fledgling appeared larger than the Kingfisher !
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- Neil Fitzgerald
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An interesting observation Ian. I've never seen it.
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Different species, but this reminds me of an amusing scene on The Snares many years ago. An adult male blackbird with a beak full of worms was alarm-calling at me from an exposed dead branch about 30 metres away. The wiggling worms were too tempting for a fernbird, that sidled up the branch then stretched up to help itself to one. It was on the verge of grabbing one when the blackbird reacted aggressively to the much smaller species attempting to steal its hard-earned spoil.