Mourning Dove and Eastern Bluebird Found in Diet of the Non-native Cane Toad

January 31, 2022

Written and researched by Schuman, M.J., S.L. Snyder, C.H. Smoak, and C.J. Dove.

Published in Southeastern Naturalist 2021.

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The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s science team has provided the first confirmed consumption of hatchling mourning dove and eastern bluebird by the non-native invasive cane toad in Florida. Collaborating with Dr. Carla Dove of the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, we were able to identify bird remains using microscopy of feather specimens, DNA barcoding of embryo/hatchling, and photographic identification through the comparison of morphologic features to that of museum specimens.

AbstractRhinella marina (Cane Toad) is a generalist predator that has been found to consume both invertebrate and vertebrate prey. Herein, we detail the first confirmed consumption of hatchling Zenaida macroura (Mourning Dove) and Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird) by the non-native invasive Cane Toad in Florida. Although birds are not known to be a large part of the Cane Toad diet, opportunistic consumption of hatchlings that likely fell from nests suggests that ground-nesting birds could also be at risk of predation by Cane Toads.

Schuman, M.J., S.L. Snyder, C.H. Smoak, and C.J. Dove. Southeastern Naturalist. 2021.

You can find the scientific journal piece and pictures by using the link below.

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) and Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) Found in Diet of the Non-native Cane Toad (Rhinella marina) in Florida