Anting III

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 0

Now that anting has been unleashed onto the birding community, more episodes are being reported. This posting gives the third and fourth accounts after Kelvin’s historic observation 17 years ago, followed by Jeremy’s.

R. Subaraj, our bird specialist and nature consultant, relates his experience: “When I was at the National University of Singapore campus in Kent Ridge on November 25th, 2005, I noticed a solitary Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) approaching me not far from the Science Canteen. As it walked toward me, it picked up something from the ground and put it 5nder its wing. I kept observing it carefully and the next time it did the same thing. I suddenly realised that it was a kerengga ant (Oecophylla samargdina) that it was stuffing under the wing.

“Immediately remembering what Kelvin had seen not far from where I was 17 years ago, I continued observing it. The bird was deliberately searching for more krenggas in the grass, along the drain and even in the drain. Each one it caught was quickly stuffed under the wing as well, occasionally with a little dance to follow.

“Another myna, another anting session!”

Margie Hall relates her story: “I recently found my 1989 notebook and can give you two more brief accounts of anting: March 9th, 1989, 2 pm, White-vented Myna picking up red kerengga ants one by one (7 in all)kand putting them in underparts and in wing feathers. May 9th, 1989 White-vented Mynas ‘anting’ with red kerengga ants. Note: White-vented Myna probably means Javan Myna – I think I was using the names interchangeably in those days.”

NOTE: This and earlier accounts of anting posted on this website have now been written up and published in the 2008 issue of the on-line journal, Nature in Singapore (Vol. 1, pp. 23-25). A PDF copy of Anting in Singapore Birds is available HERE.

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