Lineated Barbet takes a praying mantis

The image on the left showing a Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) about to deliver a praying mantis to its chick was photographed in Thailand. Ton Smits of TonTan Travel sent the image with a note: “…It was a nice experience to capture it. I did not take the effort to build a hide, just waited in the open behind my viewfinder for the right moment. It took an hour before it got back to the nest, and when it did I noticed this large green thing in its mouth but it almost flew directly inside the hole. I was afraid I missed a nice shot, but luckily it came out again and still had its prey in its mouth. He turned around and disappeared again in the hole delivering the mantis to its chick(s) and quickly flew off.”

Biologist Dr Leong Tzi Ming has this to say: “This praying mantis is most likely to be in the genus Hierodula, and appears to be a female that is possibly gravid, judging by her distended abdomen.”

Short & Horne (2001) provide a list of the Lineated Barbet’s food. Of plants, it takes fruits, flower petals and nectar. The list of invertebrate food includes spiders, insect larvae, termites and mantids. Vertebrate food includes arboreal frogs, small lizards nestling of birds and probably bird eggs.

Tom Smits & Dr Leong Tzi Min
May 2011

Short, L. L. & J. F. M. Horne, 2001. Toucans, barbets and honeyguides: Ramphastidaer, Capitonidae and Indicatoridae. Oxford University Press. 526 pp.

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