Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush eating an atlas moth

on 28th January 2009

Jimmy Tan a.k.a. skylark was in Malaysia’s Fraser’s Hill in December 2008 and documented a Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush (Garrulax mitratus) tackling an atlas moth (Attacus atlas).

“I was at Jelai in Fraser’s Hill and witnessed this bird making a meal of a struggling Atlas Moth. The laughingthrush took its time as it literally ate the moth alive. The moth was struggling to get away to no avail. No prize for guessing who won the battle.”

According to Wells (2007), the animal foods of the Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush is little known. However, “around mountain-top communications installations local residents emerge daily to take insects stranded after being attracted to floodlights.” This would imply that moths would be a regular source of food – except that birdwatchers have not reported this, leaving it to a bird photographer to do the documentation.

Allen (1953) reported an adult bringing a caterpillar to a nestling.

Image by Jimmy Tan.

Allen, F. G. H., 1953. Further notes on birds nesting at Fraser’s Hill. Malayan Nature Journal 8: 16-22.
2. Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.

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

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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