Indian Cuckoo – mixed species aerial insect feeding

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

“It was dark and wet morning today after many hot days. I was watching the family group I posted earlier of 2 juvenile and one adult Dollarbirds. At around 9.10am one of the birds abruptly gave a loud call and all three flew off. I followed and found them participating in a mixed species aerial insect feeding on flying termites (termite alates/imagos). I have observed a number of such events and most occur after heavy/prolonged rain in the late evening, preceded by a hot day. Occasionally, like this one, they occur after rain in morning preceding a hot spell of days. Fortunately the rain dropped to a drizzle from 9.10-9.40am offering a short window of observation.

“Around 120-150 birds were involved in the mixed species aerial insect feeding. The unexpected bird was an Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus concretus) that was a very active participant, flying ungainly all over to obtain prey. Appreciate any difference in opinion on the ID of the cuckoo. Wells (1999) notes on the Indian Cuckoo that it ‘emerge from cover to take flying termites’. Termite alates are noted as part of the food source of Indian Cuckoos in ‘Cuckoos of the World’ (Erritzøe, Mann, Brammer, Fuller 2012).

1. Birds seen on this occasion at the mixed species aerial insect feeding include:
Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus concretus) – single bird
Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis orientalis) – 3 birds (2 juveniles) – I have seen them previously at these events
White-throated Kingfishers (Halcyon smyrnensis) – 2 or 3 birds
Black-naped Orioles (Oriolus chinensis maculates) – 5 to 6 birds
Oriental Magpie Robins (Copsychus saularis saularis) – 4 to 5 birds
Common Mynas (Acridotheres tristis tristis) – 4 to 5 birds
Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier analis) – 8 to 10 birds
Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis strigata) – numerous, excess of 50 birds
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus malaccensis) – 4 to 5 birds
Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica javanica) – numerous
Unidentified Swifts – numerous

2. Other birds seen in the past at mixed species aerial insect feeding include:
House Crows (Corvus splendens protegatus)
Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus infortunatus).
Blue-tailed Bee-eaters (Merops philippinus)
Blue-throated Bee-eaters (Merops viridis)
Purple-backed Starlings (Sturnus sturninus)
Pied Trillers (Lalage nigra)
Brown Shrikes (Lanius cristatus)
Greater Racket-tailed Drongos (Dicrurus paradiseus)
Asian Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris)
Other Drongos (Possibly Black Drongo)
Pied Fantails (Rhipidura javanica)
Common Flamebacks (Dinopium javanense)
Green-billed Malkohas (Phaenicophaeus tristis)

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
25th March 2018

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

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