I have often observed Hirundines feeding over water and picking food off
the surface of the water, however quite often they go a bit deeper, causing
more of a splash and a ripple at the water surface. I have wondered whether
they were feeding on something below the water, or simply having a drink.
Probably both at different times.
On 1 July 2013 11:34, jenny spry <> wrote:
> Hi all,
> Last year on B-A I posted some observations about Welcome Swallows feeding
> on insect larvae captured from *below* the surface of a pool outside the
> Western Lagoons gate at the Western Treatment Plant (Werribee). Since then
> I was asked to write the observation up for publication in a journal. For
> various reasons this did not happen and I decided to publish a version of
> it on my blog instead.
> I then found a photo in the book *Where to See Birds in Victoria*, edited
> by Tim Dolby (2009). On page 109 there is a photo taken by Glenn Ehmke that
> shows the same behaviour. Glenn took this photo and others at Anderson’s
> Inlet in July 2007 so the sub-surface feeding appears to have been
> occurring in Victoria for many years.
> I cannot find written reference to sub-surface prey feeding in anything I
> have read on the *hirundinidae *family. There is, however, frequent
> reference to *hirundinidae* feeding “over” water and maybe the authors were
> just not being precise in their wording and or observations. It is possible
> that all swallows are already known to feed on sub-surface prey but I
> cannot find the behaviour explicitly stated.
> Interestingly, according to HANZAB Vol 7, Welcome Swallows are migratory
> with most Victorian birds moving north in April and May. Some Tasmanian
> birds also move north, leaving Tasmania in April on their way to wintering
> grounds in Victoria, which they then leave to return to Tasmania, beginning
> in September. As both feeding events reported above occurred in July in
> coastal Victoria the birds involved were either migrants from Tasmania or
> some local birds that did not migrate, or a combination of both. As I have
> not seen sub-surface feeding at WTP other than in July, and Glenn’s
> sighting was also in July, could it be that sub-surface feeding is a habit
> learned exclusively by Tasmanian birds and brought to their Victorian
> wintering grounds? Or is July the only month in which suitable larvae hatch
> in coastal Victoria? These are questions I cannot answer, and are ones that
> will require more research by someone else.
> It would be interested to hear if anyone has similar sightings this year,
> or in the past, especially from Tasmania or NSW.
> And if anyone is interested in the full article, with photos from Glenn and
> myself, it is on my blog at the link below.
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