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Old 04-16-2018, 06:44 PM   #1
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Default Mr I Love Ants. Question?

Have you ever witnessed this behavior? I'm looking for verifying information.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anting_(bird_activity)

Quote:
Anting is a self-anointing behavior during which birds rub insects, usually ants, on their feathers and skin. The bird may pick up the insects in their bill and rub them on the body (active anting), or the bird may lie in an area of high density of the insects and perform dust bathing-like movements (passive anting). The insects secrete liquids containing chemicals such as formic acid, which can act as an insecticide, miticide, fungicide, or bactericide.

Alternatively, anting could make the insects edible by removing the distasteful acid, or, possibly supplement the bird's own preen oil.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:42 PM   #2
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I have never witness the behavior myself but I know birds have been known to do it. There's actually a number of videos on Youtube showing it. Other theories include the bird having some sort of mite infestation and the ants (some of whom spray formic acid especially when pissed off) offer some relief to this torment. Plus I'm sure they make a tasty snack for later.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKq3nR3L9_E

The ants in this video are in the genus Formica which is well represented in the US and Canada, comprising of 100 species (of ~1000+). Though I think I've seen other videos where Camponotus (large Carpenter Ants) are used as well.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. Very interesting video.
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