Grey Wagtail catches caterpillar

on 2nd October 2009

This image by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS shows a wintering adult Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) with a caterpillar prey. It was taken at the secondary forest in the interior of Tambun, Perak, Malaysia on 5th September 2009.

“This Grey Wagtail is another one of our early winter migrants from the north. It has a protracted “autumn” passage (some records of arrivals in late July). I have often seen them in mid-August.

“This adult was beside a moderate sized river, walking in the mud on the logging trail. It caught a green caterpillar, bashed it on the ground a few times before swallowing it whole.

“Little is known about its prey apart from ‘small invertebrates from the margins of water’ (Wells, 2007).”

Tyler (2004) however gives a long list of its prey, mainly insects, notably fly larvae and adults, etc.

Tyler, S. J., 2004. Family Motacillidae (Pipits and Wagtails). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 9. Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 686-786.
2. Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.

All images by Amar-Singh HSS (Dato, Dr)

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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