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Re: Mesozoic birds made insects shrink



I believe I did mention the concept of swifts and anurognathids being similar.


From: "Dr Ronald Orenstein" <ron.orenstein@rogers.com> 
To: drdinopt@gmail.com 
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu 
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2012 4:02:07 PM 
Subject: Re: Mesozoic birds made insects shrink 

If by eating insects in midair you mean hunting on the wing as in swallows, I 
would say it is found in fewer lineages than gleaning but is still not rare 
(having independently developed in swifts, small falcons, nightjars, 
bee-eaters, swallows, woodswallows and others).  If you expand this to include 
the ability to pursue and capture an insect in midair from a perch (including 
an insect flushed by the hunting bird) I would say it is quite common, and in 
fact few insectivorous birds would be incapable of it to some degree. Some very 
large passerine families (Tyrannidae, Muscicapidae) have many species that feed 
on this manner more or less regularly. Some birds (eg fantails, neotropical 
redstarts etc) are specialists in using exaggerated behavior to flush sitting 
insects, after which the insects are captured in flight. 

Ronald Orenstein 
1825 Shady Creek Court 
Mississauga, ON 
Canada L5L 3W2 

On 2012-06-10, at 3:46 PM, Henrique Niza <drdinopt@gmail.com> wrote: 

> I'm sorry if someone already brought this up through the discussion 
> but aren't insect-eating birds in mid-air uncommon? And those that 
> venture in mid-air predation are actually small birds that go for 
> small insects? As an exception I can think of the Saw-whet Owl 
> (Aegolius acadicus) that predate moths in mid-air. My knowledge in 
> Mesozoic birds isn't exquisite (nor in extant birds actually) but if 
> the same pattern applies to early birds shouldn't have the insects 
> continue to endure large size?