Chestnut-naped Forktail nesting: 2. Prey

Part 1 of the post on the Chestnut-naped Forktails (Enicurus ruficapillus) can be viewed HERE.

Observation on prey for nestlings:
“The nesting pair often forage quite near to the nest once they are used to my presence. Prey is obtained on the ‘shore’ (sandy bits of the stream) as well as on the forest floor and bushes off the edge stream. A foraging Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) that foraged on rocks near the nest was not disturbed but another Chestnut-naped Forktail male that came to the location was chased off aggressively with loud calls.

“Both partners feed chicks but the female appeared to do more of the work (60:40). At peak periods they feed chicks 30-45 seconds apart. Partners coming rapidly one after the other, occasionally having to wait for the other to leave the nest. Occasionally feeding intervals are longer with breaks of 15-25 minutes. These were ‘incubation’ periods by the female (the early morning can be quite chilly), as well as times I saw the adults feeding themselves or having a bath. They may be occasions when prey was harder to find?

“The prey was predominantly insects with occasional shrimp or fish (list below). No vegetable matter or fruits was presented during my observations. Prey was processed by swiping heavily on rocks before offering. Post feeding adults often flew to the same spot to wipe/dip the beak in water. Unlike some birds, prey brought to chicks is never eaten even if distressed by my presence. It is held until the opportunity presents for feeding. When I am further away I hear them calling when they leave the nest, but in my presence they approach and eave fairly silently.

Types of Prey:

“It is not easy to identify prey and I used digital images to support observations. Above shows a common image of the bird – a blur in motion 🙂 But I did manage to obtain some images that allowed for prey identification. Having multiple images of one prey helped. Occasionally relied on videos. The male was more accepting, came closer and offered clearer images and better ID.

Prey brought by adult Male
Spider x 3 (below)

Centipede x 2 (below)

Alate Termite x 2 (below)

Wingless Cockroach (Morphna sp.) x 1 (below)

Woodlice x 1 (Nagurus sp.)
Large Ant x 1

Malaysian Fresh Water Grass shrimp (Palaeomonetes) x 1 (below)

Small fish or fish fry x 2
Possibly fish flesh x 1
An unidentified nymph x 1
Many other unidentified prey (mainly insects)

Prey brought by adult Female

Cricket x 6 (above, below)

Spider x 3
Wingless Cockroach (Morphna sp.) x 1
Woodlice x 1 (Nagurus sp.)
Fly (possibly Blow Fly) x 1
Possibly fish flesh x 1
Many other unidentified prey (mainly insects)

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
6th, 11th, 14th, 19th, 21st October 2014

Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: A trail through primary jungle adjacent to a rushing stream

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