Night-flying birds do have predators
Rare giant bat eats night-flying birds
Turns out night-flying birds do have predators
February 13, 2007
A new study published in PLoS ONE, an open online journal, reports that nocturnally migrating songbirds are preyed upon by giant bats. The findings go against the belief that night-flying birds lacked predators.
A team of Spanish scientists made the discovery by tracking the diet of the giant noctule bat (Nyctalus lasiopterus), a rare Mediterranean bat species. They found that the bats feeding on nocturnal songbirds primarily in autumn and feed on insects at other times of the year.
The researchers say this is the only known instance of such predation.
Nyctalus lasiopterus bat.
“The ability of giant noctules to prey on the wing upon nocturnally migrating passerines appears unique not only among bats but also within the whole animal kingdom. Although carnivorous bats feeding on small-sized vertebrates are not rare, they all live in the Tropics and collect their prey from substrates,” stated a news release from the Public Library of Science. “The few species of falcons which capture migratory birds along the Mediterranean and African coasts are exclusively diurnal. Finally, owls, as typical night-active predators, never forage in the open space: moving prey is detected from substrates through passive-listening of rustling noises.”
Citation: Popa-Lisseanu AG, Delgado-Huertas A, Forero MG, Rodríguez A, Arlettaz R, et al (2007) Bats’ Conquest of a Formidable Foraging Niche: The Myriads of Nocturnally Migrating Songbirds. PLoS ONE 2(2): e205. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000205
This article uses quotes and information from a PLOS news release.