“Two consecutive days of heavy rainfall soaked ant-hills found in forest habitat of Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis).
“These ant-hill moulds became another source location and foods for pitta birds to access ants/vermin that dwelled in them. They make delicious snacks for the birds.
“These ground dwellers took this wet weather opportunity to digging vigorously with their strong bills and bailing out soft, yellow laterite soil contents to expose ants and to pincer earthworms hiding within the ant-hill.
“Here are some images and video clippings showing a six week old fledgling- juvenile Blue-winged Pitta in action on 16th September 2017 – a chick… that got left behind by her parents (above).
“A winged excavator at work vigorously bailing out soil (above).
“Watched in awe by a largish, black-headed red ant; its condominium top being hollowed out by a pitta bird (above).
“The reward – an earthworm exposed (above).
The vermin was left swinging and gasping in the grasping jaws of the fledgling-juvenile (above).
“The fledgling-juvenile wasted no time to slurp up the doomed snack. To the horror of the on-looking ant, decided best to make hasty escape before becoming used or be next victim on bird’s menu (above)!
“It has also been observed in the past, the insertion of ants by Pitta moluccensis to remove ectoparasites in feather maintenance.
“This is a snippet article of JSparrow – the fledgling-juvenile Blue-winged Pitta of 2017 batch.
“Join Avian Writer on an extended field trip to read a series of articles pertaining to FOUR batches of successful Pitta moluccensis’ fledglings that made it through the 2017 breeding season.
“Have a peek into the lives of these colourful, ground dwelling characters – Poculars, Ravenclaw, BornFree etc….. in postnatal moult and some… remained ‘Home Alone’ to enjoy an extended summer holiday in Penang, Peninsular Malaysia.”
Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
3rd November 2017
Copyright article and all copy images – Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund.