Observation of Anting by Vinous-breasted Starling

on 14th January 2015

“On December 31st, 2014, I came across the Vinous-breasted Starling (Acridotheres burmannicus) that has been present at the Pasir Ris Park over the past few months. The status of this bird is uncertain but should not be immediately dismissed as a mere escapee.

“The starling was up in a tree and seemed to be picking things off the branch it was on. It then kept sticking his head below his wings or to the side of its body. I immediately realised that it was ‘anting’ SEE HERE. This went on for 10 minutes or so while I took some photos. As I was conducting a survey, I had to move on and left the starling to its anting.

“When I saved my photos on the computer, later that day, I noticed that a couple of photos were sharp enough to show that the ants being used by the starling were none other than the fierce Kerengga or Red Weaver Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) (above). It is suggested that this species of ant contains more acid than most and one wonders whether they make for better anting.”

Subaraj Rajathurai
5th January 2015

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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