Cicadas as food

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Cicadas as food
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2001 15:42:39 +1000
Anthea Fleming asked "What other birds eat large cicadas?"

"Food of Australian Birds. 2 Passerines" Barker & Vestjens (CSIRO, 1990)
refers to cicadas (spp unspecified) as figuring in the diet of more than 50
passerine spp, and alludes to around 20 non-passerine spp.

The abstract reads: "Stomach contents are listed for Australian passerine
birds collected from 1963 to 1980, together with results of a search of
journals and other literature to the same date".

The methodology was to sort and analyse the contents of birds' stomachs. The
literature was also searched and "only those (records) which analysed gut
contents, or specifically noted a bird eating a food item were included.
Statements such as 'the galah was feeding in a turpentine bush' or 'galahs
are attracted to flowering turpentine bushes' do not indicate what the bird
was eating and are thus not included".
The large Bladder Cicada, Cystosoma saundersii is specified in the diets of
Black-faced Monarch, Noisy Miner and Grey Butcherbird.

The only other cicada genera specified are:

Melampsaltra  (White-winged Triller, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Eastern
Bristlebird, Rufous Bristlebird, Striated Pardalote (ornatus) and
White-browed Woodswallow);

Pauropsalta  (Spangled Drongo);

Thopha saccata - Dusty Miller. The reference for this is to a bird species
coded 55.7, which is detailed in Volume 1 - Non-passerines. Sadly, I only
have Volume 2 - Non-passerines. (If anyone can lay their hands on a spare
copy of Vol 1, please let me know).

Otherwise, all references are just to cicada spp.

If you can get hold of this publication, you could well be amazed at the
amazing variety of foodstuffs which most birds eat.

Bill Jolly

Lockyer Valley, Queensland.

Visit our website at

Ph: (+61) 7 4697 6111  Fax: (+61) 7 4697 6056

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Cicadas as food, Bill Jolly <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU