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All bee-eaters appear to be specialists in eating bees and other venomous hymenoptera. Studies of the diet of more than 15 species show that 60-80 of the diet is honeybees, wasps, and ants. But they will also pursue nearly any insect of suitable size, provided it is flying. A few species forage occasionally for large insects and small lizards on the ground, and there are even observations of bee-eaters catching small fish. A few larger species forage mainly on the wing, but most bee-
Snakes are part of the diet of both species of seriemas. Unlike many snake-eaters, however, the black-legged seriema appears to be unable to tell the difference between poisonous snakes and non-poisonous snakes. They are not immune to snake venom and are therefore sometimes killed by their intended prey. Farmers sometimes keep them in chicken coops to kill snakes, as well as to give warning when predators approach.
Both parents and often helpers feed the young insects compose most of the diet, but the young of some species are fed nectar. The fledging period ranges from 11 to 20 days, but it may be as long as 32 days in the hollow-nesting stitchbird. Success rate of nests varies widely among species, years, and locations. Most failures are due to predation by corvids, cur-rawongs (Strepera), butcherbirds (Cracticus), and a range of other birds, as well as snakes and introduced mammals. Hon-eyeaters themselves occasionally destroy eggs. Ants also attack nestlings, as do the parasitic maggots of bot flies (Passeromyia). Nests are sometimes blown down in storms or drenched by heavy rain. A range of cuckoos are brood parasites.
The bills of larks are astonishingly diverse in shape, ranging from short, heavy, and conical to elongated, thin, and pointed. These differences reflect adaptations to a variety of food and feeding techniques. The thick-billed lark (Rampho-coris clotbey) stands out as an extreme its bill is massive, short, and very deep, reminiscent of the bill of a grosbeak. This lark is, however, unique in having a toothlike projection on its lower mandible which fits into a notch in the upper mandible. The short bills of Calandrella and Eremopterix are less heavy, but similar to those of finches due to their conical shape. All these species feed mainly on seeds, but insects are more common in the diet of other larks. The horned lark has a short, pointed bill like some pipits the same applies to the wood
The asities in the genus Philepitta are primarily frugivo-rous, but also feed on nectar and insects. Fruits are consumed while the birds are perched. Although Philepitta does not have the specialized bill morphology of Neodrepanis, nectar is probably an important component of the diet. Initial investigations of tongue morphology have suggested that a brush-like tip and the ability to roll it into a tube-like form may increase the efficiency with which nectar can be consumed. Pollen may also be an important food item.
I his species occurs on freshwater lakes and rivers and is the largest and heaviest swimming bird in this habitat. It is identified by the red color of the bill in adult birds, contrasting with the gray bills of juveniles and with the yellow bills of adults of other swan species in its range. Its body is streamlined for swimming, and its legs arc short and strong. The neck is long and flexible enough to reach underwater for aquatic plants and roots, which arc the bird's main food. The diet also includes worms, shellfish, and other
With its thick head feathering this diving duck looks big-headed but, when the head is raised, the neck looks narrow. Both scxes have golden-yellow eyes. The birds spend summer beside inland waters in the northern forests, nesting tree holes. They winter on estuaries, coastal bays, and large inland lakes. The diet consists mainly of shellfish, crustaceans, and insects. NliST A hole in a tree, or a nest box, lined with down. * f drooping, DlSTRIBlrriON Breeds in North America, Eurasia. Winters as far as S. USA,
I his is a mound-building bird of the Australian malice (dry scrub of dwarf eucalyptus trees). Pairs live in territories, apparently mated for life. The male scratches twigs and leaves backwards to fill a hole, and after these have been moistened by rain he covers the material with soil to form a nest motind some 16' ft (5 m) wide and 5 ft (1.5 m) high, l ie is then constantly occupied with tending the mound. He opens it. mixes the contents, and closes it to control the heat produced by the rotting plant material. The diet includes seeds (mainly acacia), btids, shoots, and some insects.
I he most noticeable characteristic of this marshland bird is the long, slender shape of its bill, neck, legs, and toes. The wings, however, are short and rounded in shape. Normally a wading bird of tropical and subtropical wooded swamps, it can swim well. It rests by day and becomes active at dusk and during the night, when it utters loud calls that can sound like clucking, wailing, or screaming. The diet consists mainly of large water snails the Limpkin's vertically flattened bill is adapted for extracting these from their shells. Limpkins also feed on other mollusks and swamp creatures, from worms to crayfish and reptiles.
I he long neck and legs of the Great Bustard give it an unobstructed view in its open grassland habitat. Here it moves with a slow, deliberate walk, flying infrequently. In spring the males display to the females in a group, on a specially reserved display ground. Females then nest and raise the young unaided. The diet consists of plants, insects, and other small animals.
Bold, black-and-white plumage, a bright orange bill, and a piping kleep call make this a well known bird of shores and mudflats. In flight it reveals a large, white wing stripe and white rump. Winter flocks feed on open shores or estuaries. The bladelike bill tip is useful for smashing open shellfish and detaching limpets from rocks. The diet consists of shellfish, worms, and small fish. In display, males run side by side with lowered bills, trilling noisily, and also perform a flight with slowly Happing wings. NEST A hollow scraped by body pressure, in shingle, sand, or grass.
A conspicuous but wary bird, the Blacksmith Plover gets its name from its loud, clinking alarm note. This is its most ' frequently heard call, although it is usually silent unless disturbed. It lives in open landscapes with moist, short grass or sparse bushes, close to lakes or large rivers. Most of the time birds arc seen singly or in pairs, although they sometimes form flocks, particularly when not breeding. In (light, conspicuous features arc broad wings, a flapping wingbeat, white underwings, and a white tail with a black tip. This assertive species has a sharp spur on the front angle of the wing, which is used when fighting. The diet consists of insects, worms, and mollusks.
A knife-shaped, black bill, decorated with white lines, identifies this cliff-nesting auk. The legs arc-set well back and propel the bird when swimming on the sea surface, although they are not strong when used for walking. The wings are used as flippers when the Razorbill swims underwater. The diet consists almost entirely of fish.
I lie dull colors of this stout fruit-pigeon are broken up by sparkling, green and purple sheens. These help provide camouflage among foliage, but the bird can often be detected by the loud flapping of its wings as it steadies itself while clambering about in search of fruit. This species lives in forests, sometimes venturing into nearby gardens and farmland with trees. The diet includes fruit, berries, buds, flowers, and leaves from trees and shrubs. Birds also come dow n to the ground to feed from small plants. They arc seen in pairs or small parties. The male's display flight consists of a rapid ascent, followed by a downward glide with spread wings and tail. One of the more soberly colored lories, this parrot feeds mainly on the flowers of forest trees. It visits large heads of tree blossoms, from which it laps nectar with its thin tongue. On the tip of the tongue there are special projections that gather up pollen. The pollen is important to the birds, as it provides protein in...
I his very large swift is recognizable in the air. where size comparisons arc difficult, by its white belly. A powerful flier, it frequents mountain crags, large rock outcrops, and tall buildings, which provide sites for nesting colonies. Unlike the Common Swift, it often roosts at the nest site. The call is a long, trilling scream. The diet consists entirely of insects caught in flight.
A rapidly repeated tonk note, like a hammer striking metal, gives this barbet its name. It occurs singly or in pairs, in wooded areas and in farmland with trees, tending to stay among the leaves, where it is inconspicuous except for its frequent song. The diet consists mainly of fruit, flight is rapid and direct, with steady wingbeats.
Adapted to life in an open-country habitat, this slender bird can run considerable distances across the ground. It also perches on rocks, low vegetation, and even on the backs of cattle and other grazing animals. The diet consists of insects, which the birds catch on the ground, on the animals, or in the air.
I he combination of a jaunty, pointed crest and a mustache identifies this babbler, which breeds in mountain forests and winters in the trees in foothills and lowlands. It nearly always occurs in small groups, that often join mixed flocks of babblers. The diet consists of insects, spiders, berries, and nectar taken from flowering trees.
Diet Nectar makes up the main part of the diet of the apapane species, which is found on the flowering ohia trees. They also feed on insects that are found close to these flowering trees. The birds fly between forest patches of the trees, finding ones that are blooming. Apapanes feed in large flocks of the species, numbering as many as 3,000 individuals per 0.4 square miles (1 square meters) of area.
Earthworms figure prominently in the diets of many pittas, especially during the nesting season. In Australia, the diet of the rainbow pitta varies seasonally earthworms comprise most of the diet during the wet season, while other invertebrates are more important during the dry season.
Deep blue plumage offset by the yellow chin and eye patches, large size, a long tail, and long, narrow wings identify this species, which is the largest of all the parrots. It almost always occurs in pairs, which fly closely together. Groups of pairs or small family parties form small flocks. Hyacinth Macaws are often seen in palm groves. They are also seen in more open areas and swamps with some tall trees, anil in forests along watercourses. The diet includes palm nuts and other nuts, seeds, and fruits. Birds call loudly in flight, with a harsh screech, and if alarmed take refuge in the highest branches of trees.
KLAGES. 1987. Seasonal variation in the diet of the King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) at sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Journal of Zoology, London 212 303-324. ADAMS, N. J., AND N. T. KLAGES. 1989. Temporal variation in the diet of the Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua at sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Colonial Waterbirds 12 30-36. AINLEY, D. G., L. B. SPEAR, S. G. ALLEN, AND C. A. RIBIC. 1996. Temporal and spatial patterns in the diet of the Common Murre in California waters. Condor 98 691-705. ANNETT, C., AND R. PIEROTTI. 1989. Chick hatching as a trigger for dietary switching in the Western Gull. Colonial Waterbirds 12 4-11. ATWOOD, J. L., AND P. R. KELLY. 1984. Fish dropped on breeding colonies as indicators of Least Tern food habits. Wilson Bulletin 96 34-47. BERRUTI, A., L. G. UNDERHILL, P. A. SHELTON, C. MOLONEY, AND R. J. M. CRAWFORD. 1993. Seasonal and interannual variation in the diet of two colonies of the Cape Gannet (Morus capensis) between 1977-78...
I'or the most part a plain-looking cranc of grassland and marshes, this bird's presence is given away by its bright head color and far-carrying calls. The calls are used as part of the pairing display and arc-also tittered in flight. The diet consists of insects, frogs, mice, seeds, and other parts of green plants. In winter, cranes visit tlricr habitats, such as farmland. I his bird gets its name from its loud, trumpeting threat call, uttered with outspread wings. In friendlier situations, it utters low, booming notes. It is chiefly a ground dweller and is normally seen walking, with a hump-backed posture. With its long, strong legs, it can also run fast. The wings are rounded and weak looking, anil flight appears laborious. In spite of this, the birds always roost fairly high in trees. They feed on the ground and are normally seen in small social groups. The diet consists mainly of fallen fruit, nuts, and insects. Trumpeters rely on other tree-dwelling animals, such as parrots and...
In spite of its bright colors, this is an inconspicuous, forest-dwelling bird with soft, dense plumage, a stout bill, small, weak feet, and an upright, watchful posture. It is uncommon, living in lowland rain forest, and tall secondary growth (areas where the trees have regrown after forest clcarance). Perching in the middle or lower levels of forest vegetation, it sits quietly for long periods. The diet consists of fruit and insects. The bird watches for an insect from a perch, then swoops out, hovers momentarily with a flutter of wings, snatches the insect, and takes it back to the perch. The song is a series of kyou notes, accelerating and then stopping abruptly. There is also a low, purring call. Sitting motionless for long periods on an open branch, this quiet bird is inconspicuous in the upper levels of forest. It is mainly a solitary bird, although pairs sometimes perch near each other. The diet consists of insects, particularly caterpillars. 1'he bird flies out to seize an...
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