Oriental Magpie-robin anting

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 3

“So far, the anting behaviour that I have observed have been confined to the Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus). My first observation with photographs captured was in mid July 2010 LINK. More than 3 years later, in late Aug 2013, I have another observation of anting behaviour. This time, a female Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis) was observed in anting behaviour.

“This female magpie-robin first caught my attention while it was perching on a stem with its juvenile. Initially, it appeared to be preening itself. Upon closer observation, the perceived ‘preening’ was found to be anting. I realised this after it was observed to be actively catching ants from where it was perched. Photographs showing some of the robin’s behaviour are attached:

1. An adult magpie-robin with an ant in its beak with its juvenile looking on (above).

2. The female staring closely at a weaver ant that it was about to pick up (above)…

3. Weaver ant caught in its beak with another under the perch (above),

4. Placing an ant under its wing (above),

5. An ant being flicked away (not sure how or why this occurred) (above).

6. Sequence showing the magpie-robin in process of swallowing and eating an ant (above: left to right), and bird flapping its wings to get rid of the ants under its wings (probably) (below).

“Interesting to note that the Oriental Magpie-robin not only picked up the weaver ants for anting, but also to eat them. During the 5 minutes of observation, there must be at least a dozen weaver ants caught and used – both for anting and eating. The juvenile robin did not join the adult in anting – it left the perch, leaving the female to indulge in anting alone.”

Kwong Wai Chong
22nd September 2013

3 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.