Short Communication

Foraging behaviour of the Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava

Published in: Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Volume 88, issue 3, 2017, pages: 277–280
DOI: 10.2989/00306525.2016.1272501
Author(s): Ian G McLeanDepartment of Forestry and Resource Management, New Zealand

Abstract

The foraging behaviour of the Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava mutatrix (TFP) was studied at Morogoro, eastern Tanzania during the late winter, 2016. TFP foraged mostly in dense subcanopy or weedy vegetation. They foraged alone or in loosely constructed groups, and stayed in contact using calling. Foraging behaviour documented included heights (absolute, and relative to available subcanopy and canopy height), speed of movement, foraging rate, foraging method and peck sites. Overall, TFP foraged at an average height of 2.3 m, and took most prey from leaves and twigs. Fifty of the 60 samples obtained were in the subcanopy, and TFP showed some preference for the mid and upper height sectors within the subcanopy. In an average minute they took 3.2 prey items and travelled 2.9 m. Most prey items taken were very small. Their movements in light vegetation would have disturbed most flying prey, enabling escape, thus their main prey were sedentary items. Although capable of most foraging methods used by other small warbler-type birds, it appeared that their preference for dense vegetation limited their foraging options, and they mostly foraged using the general technique of 'stop–scan–glean–move'.

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