Carrion Crow kills adult Reeve

While Carrion Crows / Aaskrähen (Corvus corone) – as picture-book generalists – are known to feed on a wide variety of things, this was the first time that I witnessed a crow preying on an adult wader. While watching birds at a shallow pool in Seewinkel, Austria on 9 April 2020, a Carrion Crow that had its nest in a tree, only about 50 meters from the edge of the water, attacked a female Ruff (a.k.a. Reeve) / Kampfläufer (Calidris pugnax) and injured it so heavily that it died moments later. The predator sat on the wader to hold it down and used its bill to peck on the prey.

Unfortunately, while trying to reposition myself to get a clearer view and to document the incident, the crow got suspicious and left without the prey. The Ruff was seen feeding seemingly healthy and with no signs of injury, just minutes before the attack. Still, it cannot be excluded that the bird was weakened already, making it an easier prey. The twisted wing seen in the photo is the results of the crows pecking.

Female Ruff / Kampfläufer killed by Carrion Crow

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