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Hummingbird Killed by Frog

Morgan Monroe
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
59
Issue: 
1 (January-February)
Section: 
From Field and Study
Year: 
1957
Pages: 
69

Hummingbird Killed by Frog.-On September 13, 1956, my wife and I observed an unusual incident that resulted in the death of a female Rufous Hummingbird (Selaspkovus rufus) The observation was made at 3:30 p.m. at a small lake impounded by Herb Martyr Dam in Cochise County, Arizona. The location is in upper Cave Creek Canyon about two miles west of the American Museum of Natural History’s Southwestern Research Station in the Chiricahua Mountains.

As we sat on the north bank of the lake observing birds, the hummingbird, a migrant, perched momentarily on a partly submerged tree branch, then flew down and landed at the edge of the water about 30 feet in front of us. Apparently the bird sought a drink; it dipped its mandibles into the shallow water once after landing. Immediately a frog of unidentified species leaped from the grass near the water line, struck the bird a hard blow and knocked it into deeper water. The bird struggled in several inches of water as the frog followed up its initial attack by seizing the bird and diving with it into a bed of submerged vegetation. Neither bird nor frog reappeared on the surface. We searched for some 15 minutes without success in an effort to locate them.

Neither observer had ever before witnessed such a capture. Whether frogs regularly take hummingbirds under like circumstances or whether the bird was mistaken for a large insect is unknown. -MORGAN MONROE, Phoenix, Arizona, September 28, 1956. 

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