Dollarbird catching beetle

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

KC Tsang did it yet again!

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“Was at Bidadari and saw a Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) catching a beetle in mid-air, so looks like beetles are another food source for the Dollarbird. Just wondering if the bird managed to swallow such a big prey, and also what kind of beetle is this – if someone can enlighten us on this…”

According to Prof. Cheong Loong Fah, who has been studying insects for many years now, it is possibly a scarab beetle (Family: Scarabaeidae).

The Dollarbird’s common hunting mode is aerial capture of free-flying insects. This KC did witness. KC was wondering whether the bird managed to swallow such a large beetle. This means he did not witness the actual swallowing. Pity! Skeptics may say that the bird was just curious about the beetle. So was the beetle a food source or a play item? Did the beetle escaped from the bird’s bill? This we will never know.

However, according to Wells (1999): “Large cicadas, mantids, ants and orthopterans have been identified among other prey.” So the beetle has been recorded as its prey. Phew! But not sure whether whoever reported these insects as food, actually saw them being swallowed and subsequently not vomited out. The beauty of observations without photographic evidence is that there is no way to know whether the act actually happened unless you write to whoever reported the observations.

But give use photographic evidence anytime.

Reference:
Wells, D.R., 1999. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. I, Non-passerines. Academic Press, London. 648 pp.

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