“On the evening of 11th May 2014, a Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) had parked itself at the entrance of a narrow treehole at Fraser’s Hill, Peninsular Malaysia (above).
“With a steady perch, it began to chisel away at what appeared to be an ant’s nest from a distance. For at least five minutes, it repeatedly chipped away at the nest and the adjacent bark. Such an intrusion must have sent the ants scampering about frantically, with quite a number of them being devoured by the woodpecker in the process. For a few brief moments, I could discern its long tongue protruding, probing and probably picking up the ants as well (above).
“A video clip of this woodpecker feeding may be previewed below:
“In a comprehensive study of Asian woodpeckers (encompassing 29 species), Lester L. Short found that approximately half of the species were observed to forage for ants frequently, if not entirely (Short, 1973). He described the foraging mode of the Greater Yellownape as a combination of probing, gleaning and tapping.”
Dr Leong Tzi Ming
24th May 2014
Short, L. L., 1973. Habits of some Asian Woodpeckers (Aves, Picidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Volume 152: Article 5, pages 253–364, figures 1–43, table 1