Javan Myna eats millipedes (instead of “anting” with them)

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates, Videography | 0

Earlier, I came across a Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) using a millipede in its anting behaviour in my garden LINK. It occurred so fast that I had no time to document it. But I managed to retrieve the millipede (Trigoniulus sp.) from among the grass. The millipede was not harmed. The myna had picked it up twice, each time wiping it on to its feathers, before dropping the millipede on to the ground (below).

millipede - Trigoniulus sp.

Thinking I might encourage anting by some mynas so that I can properly video the behaviour, I collected a number of millipedes from my compost heap, placed them on an overturned large dish and left the scene with my video cam turned on.

For good measure, I scattered oat flakes around in an effort to attract the mynas before the millipedes moved into the surrounding compost.

A myna arrived and instead of anting as I hoped it would, it started feeding on the oat flakes. Only later on did it feed on the millipedes (above, below). The millipedes have a tough exoskeleton but the myna broke them into pieces and swallowed them.

MynaJ-millipede

One may ask why mynas usually do not eat the millipede after using it to “ant”? Well, it can be that the myna is not hungry when anting, or that there are not enough observations by photographers to show that once in a while the bird does eat the millipede after anting. An earlier post reported the millipede being abandoned after anting.

YC Wee
Singapore
24th September 2017

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