Crested Bellbird immobilising caterpillars - RFI

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Subject: Crested Bellbird immobilising caterpillars - RFI
From: "Frank Antram" <>
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 21:56:42 +1000
Hi BirdingAus-ers


Could somebody enlighten me as to how Crested Bellbirds immobilize/paralyse
caterpillars?  Pizzey & Knight state that Crested Bellbird 'places
immobilised live caterpillars around rim [of nest]' ; MacDonald states that
before eggs hatch, caterpillars 'are paralysed and stored around nest as
food for young' ; and Blakers, Davies & Reilly say 'keeps a larder of
incapacitated but living caterpillars round its nest'.  An internet search
hasn't helped further.  So, are bellbirds equipped with a poison that they
secrete from some gland, or do they utilize a poisonous plant, or what?  And
do the young know that food is ready and waiting when they hatch, or is this
just forethought on the part of the adults to have a supply of food ready to
start stuffing down the throats of the hungry youngsters?



Frank Antram


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