Finch behaviour

To: Sally and Roger <>
Subject: Finch behaviour
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Sun, 6 Nov 2005 14:28:29 +1100
On Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 11:15:16AM +0930, Sally and Roger wrote:
>    Yesterday late afternoon I observed Masked and Double-barred Finches
>    feeding on flying ants.
>    Not only were they picking them off the ground but also flying up and
>    sallying in mid-air after them.
>    Is this diet and behaviour known or been observed before?

I can't answer the question, but its not surprising.  In Africa you can
see a very wide variety of species feeding on termite alates as they
emerge including, eagles, storks, hornbills and kingfishers.

Alates must be rich in energy/protein and easy to capture for it to be
worthwhile for such presumably inefficient insectivores.

For comparison hawking of insects by honeyeaters, presumably much
more efficient insectivores than an eagle, can be an energy loss.
Its useful for the honeyeaters to expend more energy than contained
in the captured insects because of the protein obtained.

Andrew Taylor

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