Dotterel v Antlions

To: "'Steve'" <>
Subject: Dotterel v Antlions
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2013 20:15:06 +1000
Nice story. It may be one bird's own learning or it may be just that it
would require that someone is clever or patient enough to discover such a
thing. As in to make the link from seeing the behaviour at a distance and
then to look closer as to what is happening. 


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Steve
Sent: Tuesday, 16 April 2013 7:39 PM
To: Birding Aus
Subject: Dotterel v Antlions

G'day all

On April 2 I was watching Black-fronted Dotterels on the shore of Lake
Pinaroo near Fort Grey Camp, Sturt National Park, NSW.

Most individuals were feeding along the water's edge but one was way up on
the back of the beach near the beginning of the woodland.  This area was
sandy and covered in Antlion larvae cones.

The lone Dotterel systematically searched the sand for cones and dipped into
each one and clearly at times gobbled up a morsel from within.  I flipped
the camera to video mode and shot some of the action.  Then I photographed a
cone with Dotterel footprints leading up to and away from the cone.

I'd not heard of this before and research since has not turned up Antlion
larvae predation by birds.  Nor are Antlion larvae listed in HANZAB as a
prey of the Black-fronted Dotterel.

The movie clip is nearly 2 mins long and 52 mb.  It is at:

The photo of the footprints is at:

I'd be interested if anyone else has seen such behaviour.


Steve Clark
Hamilton, Vic


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