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Blue Whistling-thrush – feeding behaviour

on 8th June 2018

“I have observed the Blue Whistlin-thrush (Myophonus caeruleus crassirostris) feeds on a large range of animal prey, especially invertebrates as well as fruit. Snails are particular favourite and often rocks are used to break the shell.

“I saw this bird feeding exclusively on these hairy, orange and black caterpillars (top, above).

“It took 5 in the space of 10 minutes. The bird did not seem to find them very palatable and spent time rubbing them in the dirt (above), possibly to reduce the ‘hairs’ sticking out.

“Even after feeding on them the bird would often gag a little, shake the head or raise it hackles and head feathers (above). This happened at almost every feed, giving the impression that it was unpleased to taste or swallow. The bird was cautious of me and was probably concerned I would steal its unpalatable grubs.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
29th May 2018

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Limestone outcroppings at outskirts of the city with secondary growth

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

One Response

  1. Congratulations on the detail in the pictures Amar.
    Though the bird in the picture has adult plumage, from the fleshy flanges on the side of the bill, it appears to be rather young. It also looks thin.
    Young birds, which have to fend for themselves after they are no longer being fed by the parents, often take quite a while to learn how to do so properly.
    This thrush was probably very hungry when it came across those caterpillars (which might have been ignored by other birds better at foraging), and simply gobbled them down whether they tasted good or not!

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