Diet of three insectivorous birds in Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu, India - a preliminary study

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S. Asokan
A.M.S. Ali
R. Manikannan


The dietary composition of the White-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis, the Small Bee-eater Merops orientalis and the Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus was studied between 2005 and 2006 in Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu, India by analyzing regurgitated pellets. The analysis revealed that the White-breasted Kingfisher preys mainly on arthropods (83.40%) and less on vertebrates; seven orders of insects were identified, with Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera and Orthoptera predominant. The small bee-eater diet is composed of Coleoptera (22.3%), Hymenoptera (20.8%), Hemiptera (14.1%), Orthoptera (12.6%), Odonata (10.7%), Lepidoptera (10.4%) and Diptera (8.6%). Beetles were also found to be the most frequent prey (23.7%) in the diet of black drongos, followed by Hemiptera (21.6%), Orthoptera (19.3%), Hymenoptera (14.4%), Lepidoptera (7.5%), Diptera (6.8%) and Odonata (6.0%).

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How to Cite
Asokan, S., Ali, A. and Manikannan, R. 2009. Diet of three insectivorous birds in Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu, India - a preliminary study. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 1, 6 (Jun. 2009), 327–330. DOI:
Author Biographies

S. Asokan

Dr. S. Asokan is currently teaching students, undertaking and supervising various research activities. He has produced 7 PhD and 40 MPhil students in various field of Wildlife Biology and Zoology. He has published more than 30 research papers in leading national and international journals.

A.M.S. Ali

A. Mohamed Samsoor is currently working as a Senior Research Fellow (SRF) in the Owl Research Project (funded by MoEF, Govt. of India) at Saraswathi Narayanan College (Autonomous), Madurai. He graduated with a Master of Science in Wildlife Biology from the A.V.C. College (Autonomous), Mayiladuthurai in 2003 and has been working on the various filed of ornithology since 2004.

R. Manikannan

R. Manikannan is working on diversity of wetland birds in Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary for a PhD degree.

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