Apologies to amphibian-lovers everywhere. The scene that unfolded in Kent Ridge Park in Singapore was quite gruesome to watch. A pair of White-crested Laughingthrushes, Garrulax leucolophus, had found a frog in the moistness of the shade behind a line of trees.

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They are omnivorous birds and I shouldn’t have been shocked by the enthusiastic way in which they acquired the meal, but there was something predatory in the way that they used their claws to keep it pinned at tarsus’s length while they fed from it.

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This was not behaviour that I associated with Laughingthrushes and I found it a little disturbing.

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Without the strong talons and bill of a hawk, they were unable to deliver a quick, killing bite. Instead they reared up high and stabbed viciously down onto the frog. This was repeated over and over, surely long after the frog was dead.

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Even after it had been disembowelled, it was still subjected to repeated blows as though the birds were unused to preying on live animals and were unclear how much force was needed to subdue a little frog.

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Best done on a soft surface.

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.