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Male Red-throated Barbet with insect prey

on 27th September 2011

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS photographed a male Red-throated Barbet (Megalaima mystacophanos mystacophanos) with a metallic-looking beetle in his bill. He was then walking along a secondary forest trail at the periphery of the Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia on 30th June 2011.

It was during a fruiting frenzy then, with species of bulbuls, Asian Fairy-Bluebirds (Irena puella) and others when he noticed this Red-throated Barbet simply ignoring the fruits and focusing his attention on the beetle that he caught. The beetle was extensively ‘processed’ by branch swiping it many times before he swallowed it.

Although barbets are largely fruit eaters, they are sufficiently opportunistic to exploit animal food when available. This is especially so when feeding chicks immediately after hatching. In the case of the Red-throated Barbet, it has been recorded that, besides feeding predominantly on figs, it also takes insect larvae and snails (Short & Horne, 2002).

Reference:
Short, L. L. & J. F. M. Horne, 2002. Family Capitonidae (Barbets). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 7. Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 140-219.

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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