FEB 05, 2018 9:03 AM PST

The butcher bird


These birds, known as butcherbirds, have rightfully earned their name from their unique habit of spearing their prey on the thorns and spikes of trees and cacti. Cousins of the shrike, which is shown in the video above and also exhibits this formidable behavior, butcherbirds are large songbirds, black and white in color. They live in deserts and in order to survive in the harsh habitat, they feed on a variety of prey, from insects to lizards to mice and other invertebrates.

When a butcherbird succeeds in catching its victim, it will often skewer it on a thorn of a plant, using the thorn to give it support while it eats the unfortunate victim. The birds will also save the prey in this way, creating a sort of food store to resort to when hard times come, or if babies need to be fed. It is thought that a display of skewered prey also acts as a way to attract a mate - because nothing says romance like a carcass kabob!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 05, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
No, Gravity Doesn't Affect How Bubbles Collapse
NOV 05, 2020
No, Gravity Doesn't Affect How Bubbles Collapse
The ubiquitous presence of bubbles makes them a common phenomenon, but interestingly our understanding of this globular ...
JAN 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
JAN 08, 2021
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular amo ...
FEB 19, 2021
Plants & Animals
What can Lemurs Teach us About Love?
FEB 19, 2021
What can Lemurs Teach us About Love?
Although not entirely accurate, romantic sentiments such as "you're my lobster" or "you're my pen ...
MAR 26, 2021
Plants & Animals
A Massive 17-Year Cicada Swarm will Emerge Soon
MAR 26, 2021
A Massive 17-Year Cicada Swarm will Emerge Soon
The east coast is preparing for one of nature’s greatest spectacles. A gigantic swarm of periodical cicadas is due ...
JUN 05, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Did Heat from Asteroids Provide the Building Blocks for Life on Earth?
JUN 05, 2021
Did Heat from Asteroids Provide the Building Blocks for Life on Earth?
Researchers from Kobe University in Japan have found that heat generated by the impact of small astronomical bodies coul ...
JUN 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
JUN 24, 2021
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
Modern spacecraft are typically made out of carbon fiber composites. Now, however, the European Space Agency has announc ...
Loading Comments...