We were taught in school that birds feed on worms, but did you know that some species actually snack on insects? Some of these birds can even help out with termite control. Indeed, they are truly useful in balancing out the food chain.
Asia is home to a number of insect-eating birds—some are even experts in eating in mid-air! Soar high with these flying creatures as we let you into the world of Asia’s insect-eating birds.
The White-bellied Woodpecker (Drycopus javensis) is a bird found in the tropical forests of Asia, particularly in evergreen areas of the Southeast. It is known for the noticeable white area on its belly, hence the name. These birds are considered to be one of the largest of their kind and also one of the most dominant in terms of population. They breed on dead tree barks and feed mainly on insects such as ants and grubs that live under barks. During the breeding season and during meal time, they make drumming sounds. These birds make a distinct “kuk” sound before flying off.
The Chinese Penduline Tit (Remiz consobrinus) is a species of the Remizidae family. They can be found in Japan, North and South Korea, China (particularly in Hong Kong), and Russia. Among its favorite food are caterpillars and small invertebrates. They are relatively small in size and light brown in color.
The Philippines is known for its diverse nature and wildlife. Among the wonders living in our country is the Philippine Frogmouth (Batrachostomus septimus). This nocturnal bird lives in lowland forests and survives by eating different insects such as beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers, and crickets. They have soft, downy feathers held together by moss and lichens.
The Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis) is a small bird belonging to the Sittidae family. It can be found in South Asia, particularly in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India; these can also be sighted in Indonesia and China. Evergreen forests are their primary habitat and they can actually climb down trees! They feed on spiders and other invertebrates, often feeding in flocks. Despite their small size, their beaks are strong and they can easily be identified by their lavender cheeks and red bills. The Velvet-fronted Nuthatch are noisy birds as they always sing loud songs.
A certain type of passerine bird lives in the Himalayas: the Hodgson’s Treecreeper (Certhia hodgsoni). Aside from Nepal, this bird can also be found in China, Myanmar, Bhutan, India, and Pakistan. Like the Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, this bird also uses its voice but this time for calling out to its relatives and signal for flight. They typically feed on arthropods and live mostly in temperate climates in coniferous woodlands.
The Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) is a species belonging to the family Meropidae. They are migratory birds commonly seen in India. Their bodies are richly-colored, with the hues of their tails being their most prominent feature. They live in farmlands and rice fields. They munch on hornets, dragonflies and of course, bees. These birds prefer to be near large bodies of water and sandy banks.
There you have it, six of the most common insect eating birds in Asia. Stay tuned for the next installment of insect-eating bird adventures!