Observation of Anting by Vinous-breasted Starling

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 2

“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

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