Ant-Eating Chat (Myrmecocichla formicivora)
The ant-eating chat, is also known as the southern ant-eater chat, well whatever it is a new one for me. With the help of birders on the internet I got the correct ID. The light was not the best for photography yesterday, but when a bird that you do not know seems to want to be photographed, who cares about the light.
The ant-eating chat is an insectivore and is especially fond of eating ants and termites. It changes its hunting style seasonally. In winter it can be found foraging on the ground for insects and in summer it pounces on its prey from a low perch. Other than ants and termites, its diet includes grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars and millipedes. It is also known to eat fruit on occasion. Hummm… maybe a subject for my fruit salad tree…!!
The ant-eating chat builds its nest by burrowing a chamber into a sand quarry or sand wall. The chamber is typically 30-150cm long and the excavating is done by the parents over a period of 8-10 days. Egg-laying season is august to march, and the chat lays between two and seven eggs that are incubated by the female for 14-16 days. Chicks are fed by both parents and are sometimes helped by the juveniles from the previous clutch. (info with thanks from the Krugerpark.com site) Here are my photos… it is a female bird, as the male has a small white spot on the top of the folded wing…..
The internet is wonderful for getting aid in identifying a specie… there are so many enthusiast that have sharing sites on the internet, that an incorrect ID is almost impossible. If this was pre Internet, I probably would have taken days to ID the bird, now it takes no longer than minutes when one uses the sites…