Barbets as Participants in Mixed Species Aerial Insect Feeding

posted in: bird, Feeding-invertebrates | 0

Birds feeding on termites or flying ants is an experience I have enjoyed since childhood. I occasional get to see these mixed species aerial insect feeding in forest locations. At 7.45am on 4th August 2022 at the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, I had an opportunity to observe another occurrence. 

On this occasion it comprised a number of Greater Racket-tailed Drongos (Dicrurus paradiseus), Asian Fairy Bluebirds (Irena puella malayensis), Red-eyed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus brunneus) and Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier). All these were expected birds. The surprise was seeing a number Gold-whiskered Barbets (Psilopogon chrysopogon) also feeding on these insects. They were not as competent as the Greater Racket-tailed Drongos (see image 1) in catching prey but did manage to get some insects (see image 2).

Image 1: Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) with insect prey. Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 4 August 2022.
Image 2: Gold-whiskered Barbet (Psilopogon chrysopogon) with insect in beak. Kledang Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. 4 August 2022.


Birds seen in the past at mixed species aerial insect feeding include:

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)

Other Drongos (Possibly Black Drongo)

Asian Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris)

Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus concretus)

Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense)

Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis)

Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis orientalis)

House Crow (Corvus splendens protegatus)

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica javanica)

Unidentified Swifts

Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)

Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis)

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti)

Purple-backed Starling (Sturnus sturninus)

Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)

Pied Triller (Lalage nigra)

Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis maculates)

Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis saularis)

Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis tristis)

Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)

Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis strigata)

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus malaccensis)

Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus infortunatus).


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


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