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Tail fanning as a foraging strategy

on 6th October 2009

Myron Tay managed to photograph the Asian Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) (above left) and Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica) (above right), in both cases with their tail fanned.

Myron wrote, “I have noticed that at least two birds, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher and Pied Fantail, have been spreading out its tail and wings in a bid to scare insects out of hiding so that they can be caught. I was wondering whether my observation is correct and if so, whether other birds use similar strategies to prey on insects?”

A number of birds use this strategy to disturb insects from their hiding place in grassy areas, the best know example being the Pied Fantail and the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia).

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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