Red-breasted Parakeet eats cocoon

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates, Parrots | 4

“Recently, some Red-Breasted Parakeets (Psittacula alexandri) in a flock were encountered foraging on a medium-sized tree. For some reason, this yellow flame tree (Peltophorum pterocarpum) had shed most of its leaves. On closer examination, there were many what I believe to be “larva cases” of some sort of insects, seen dangling from the underside of the branches (left). Each “larva case” is about 10 to 15 mm long and cylindrical in shape and was attached to the barren branch by a short web-like thread.

“As a few of the parakeets moved lower, it became clear that they were after the larva cases. They were observed using their beaks to pick up the larva cases, holding them in the tip of their beaks before devouring them using their tongues (above).

“What were the parakeets consuming?”

Kwong Wai Chong
9th January 2010

Note: Gan Cheong Weei, Chairman of the Butterfly Interest Group, thinks that the structure can be a cocoon of an insect. Cocoon is a silken protective covering, inside which the caterpillar of many moths and a few butterflies pupate. A few other groups of insects also spin cocoons. We need a close-up image showing details of the structure to be able to proceed further in identifying which insect is responsible for spinning the cocoon.

4 Responses

  1. Lee Chiu San

    Please bear in mind that many species of parrots are opportunistic feeders and will quite readily take whatever sources of nourishment are available.

    Most parrots are insectivorous to a greater or lesser extent, and some are even carnivorous.

    Various cockatoos have been known to scavenge the bones of carrion and the Kea of New Zealand is reputed to eat mutton, fresh and on the hoof.

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