oa African Zoology - Diet of the ant-eating chat Myrmecocichla formicivora in relation to terrestrial arthropod abundance

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



During a survey of terrestrial arthropods in the central Orange Free State we collected a sample of ant-eating chats Myrmecocichla formicivora over a 12-month period to analyse the stomach contents. Throughout the year Hymenoptera (ants) were the most abundant arthropods in the pitfall traps with Isoptera common in winter. Although a wide variety of arthropod prey items was taken, there seemed to be some selection from the available prey. During winter a significantly higher number of prey items were taken than during summer. It is postulated that the different foraging methods employed during summer and winter, as well as the variation in the numbers and diversity of the prey, are responsible for the observed differences between the summer and winter diets of the ant-eating chat.

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