Golden Babbler catching stick insect

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates | 0

Adrian Lim a.k.a. wmw998 photographed a Golden Babbler (Stachyris chrysaea) in Peninsular Malaysia catching a phasmid (below). The bird had the stick insect’s head tightly clamped in its bill and bashed it against the branch. It then held the anterior end of the insect against the branch with its right foot and manipulated the other end with its bill in an effort to eat it.

Very little is known of what food this babbler takes, besides ants, caterpillars and the occasional berries. Stick insect is thus a new food record.

For the family Picathartidae, the food is dominated by insects and forest-floor invertebrates. These include beetles, termites, and ants. Other foods include earthworms, millipedes and centipedes. Small frogs and lizards are also taken, mostly to feed the young.

The Golden Babbler is a resident forest species in Peninsular Malaysia. It forages among the leaves of the lower and middle levels of the forest.

Collar, N. J. & Robson, C. (2007). Family Timaliidae (Babblers). Pp. 70-291 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 12. Picathartes to Tits and Chikadees. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

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