Baya Weaver’s new food sources

“I was watching 7-8 lovely Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus infortunatus) when I noticed them feeding on 2 new food sources. Traditional records, and my own observations, indicate that they primarily feed on seeds/grain. Most records of animal prey are associated with feeding of juveniles.

“Craig (2016). Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus). In Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive states that adults are ‘primarily granivorous’ but does also describe animal prey in other countries.

“The Weaver Watch (Monitoring the Weavers of the World) site states about food that ‘The Baya Weaver feeds on seeds, including those of grass, rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, millet and sunflowers. Insects include grasshoppers, flies, termites, beetles, caterpillars and butterflies. It also feeds on nectar, spiders, small snails, and rice frogs. Rice is often the most important food item.’

“Wells (2007). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Volume 2: Passerines states that it feeds predominantly on rice and wild grass-seed with few other food sources.

“Over the years I have reported a number of other food including animal prey, nectar and small fruit.

WeaverB-Mimosa pigra [AmarSingh] 1

“This time I observed them feeding on the seeds of Mimosa pigra. This is a tall leguminous shrub that is very invasive (not native) and has little practical use. Seedpods contain numerous oblong shaped seeds. The bird have learnt to insert their beaks to break open the pod and access the seeds (above, below).

WeaverB-Mimosa pigra [AmarSingh] 2

“Taking animal prey for self by adults (not to feed juveniles) in an uncommon behaviour in my region. I have seen this twice before in May 2009 and September 2011. Both times the birds were exploring curled up leafs for animal prey, see LINK.

WeaverB-animal prey [AmarSingh] 3

“This time they were again investigating folded or curled up leaves (above, below). One of the birds found, what are possibly beetle eggs, and consumed them after pulling them out. Note the clever use of the right foot to stabilize the leaf.”

WeaverB-animal prey [AmarSingh] 4

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
12th September 2016

Location: Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Rural environment with overgrowth

One Response

  1. Howard Banwell

    Fascinating. And great photographic evidence!

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