Whiskered Terns hawking for flying ants

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davoeng1's picture
Whiskered Terns hawking for flying ants

G'day, I am new here, though my Dad taught me to be a birdwatcher 40 years ago.

Yesterday I was driving between Ararat and Willaura in western Victoria.  I had just passed Lake Buninjon, when I came across a flock of 20-30 Whiskered Terns which were behaving like swallows.  I pulled up and spent some time observing them.  They were hawking and eating on the wing some big slow flying insects.  I later discovered a bull ant nest in the gravel on the edge of the bitumen with flying ants leaving the nest.  The terns were very intent on feasting while the bonanza lasted and had no concern about me standing amongst them.  Each time a car passed they headed out across the paddock and came straight back to resume their meal.  It was quite a magical thing to witness.  

I have never observed terns hawking before and none of my guide books mentioned it as a common behaviour.  I wondered if anyone else has observed similar behaviour?

Woko's picture

I haven’t, davoeng, but isn’t great to observe such behaviour! Nature in full flight, so to speak.

Lightuningbird's picture

The only behaviour iv ever seen from a turn is one attacking a albatross for it fish. that’s normal, but I do feel sorry fore the albatross, not nimble enough to chase of the turn

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

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