Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chewing Caterpillars

Having spent some time with the cuckoo it was interesting to watch it feeding which seemed to be exclusively on caterpillars. Apparently it is one of the few birds that will happily feed on those large hairy technicolour caterpillars that most others find inedible. It would stay perched for long periods watching the surrounding vegetation. Any perch was suitable be it a stick in the marsh.
A barbed wire fence or a bush
Before it would launch itself towards the next caterpillar and appeared very hawk like in flight.
On occasions this would be 30 - 40ft away which shows what great vision these birds have to spot a green caterpillar amongst dense marsh vegetation.With the green catepillars it would shake them violently to empty their contents before swallowing. It was also eating cream coloured caterpillars which is was just swallowing in one. The bird left at the end of last week after its extended stop over and I wish it all the best on its long, difficult and first journey down to Africa.


Klaus said...

Studying these shots brings up the comparison with pigeons. Flight, posture are pretty similar. Great job here! Especially the in flight shots are awe-inspiring!
Cheers, Klaus

Tabib said...

Great documentation of feeding behavior.

Rich Steel said...

Many thanks for your comments Klaus and Tabib




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