Baya Weaver and animal prey

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS photographed the Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus infortunatus) taking animal prey at the Tambun Interior, Perak, Malaysia on 30th May 2009.

Writes Amar, “Took these pictures some time ago and posting (despite poor quality) for the ”less than usual” behaviour. The usual food for Baya Weaver is grain/seeds as we are all familiar with. There are reports of animal prey given to nestlings – caterpillars and grasshoppers, as well as winged termites, as reported by Madoc and Bromley in Wells (2007).

“I have also seen and posted this on OBI. Have attached a picture of a female bringing a grasshopper to young (above left) and one of a female investigating the curled end of a tapioca leaf (Manihot esculenta) for a spider or pupa (above right).

“I have occasionally seen different feeding behaviour suggesting animal prey – on the ground or in bush but have not been able to verify.

“There are reports of animal prey in George (1973) and Mukherjee & Saha (1974). Dr David R Wells responded to Amar’s e-mail thus, “Thanks for these pics; there is a good chance that nestling Bayas are fed a mainly if not exclusively animal prey diet. In Africa once I saw a Village Weaver capture and eat a gecko.”

George, N.J., 1973. Baya (Ploceus philippinus) feeding on frogs”. 70 (2): 381–382.
2. Mukherjee, A.K.; Saha, B.C., 1974. Study on the stomach contents of Common Baya, Ploceus philippinus (Linnaeus). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 71 (2): 308.
3. Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.

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