An amazing image of a mammoth spider devouring a bird was taken in the backyard of a property near Cairns, Australia.

The image, which is being cirulated via e-mail worldwide, is real, according to wildlife experts, The Cairns Post reported.

The photo, believed to have been taken earlier this week, shows the spider clenching its legs around a lifeless bird trapped in a web at a property near Atherton, west of Cairns.

Joel Shakespeare, the head spider keeper at NSW's Australian Reptile Park, said the spider was a golden orb weaver.

"Normally they prey on large insects, it's unusual to see one eating a bird," he said. Shakepeare said he had seen golden orb weaver spiders as big as a human hand but the northern species in tropical areas were known to grow larger.

Shakespeare said the bird, a chestnut-breasted mannikin which appears frozen in an angel-like pose in the pictures, is likely to have flown into the web and got caught.

"It wouldn't eat the whole bird," he said.

Click here to see the photo as News.com.au.