ABSTRACT

Disturbance foraging – the use of disturbances created by other animals to locate cryptic or sedentary prey – is a widespread phenomenon, particularly in birds. In the Neotropics, a prominent example of disturbance foraging in birds is their relationship with army ants (Eciton burchellii). Numerous bird species attend army ant swarms and forage on the prey that the ants flush from the leaf litter. Here, I document a previously undescribed disturbance foraging association between two species of obligate ant-following birds and a small anteater, the northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana). I observed both bird species approach and forage on fallen termites underneath the anteater, which was excavating a termite nest. The foraging association appeared to be a commensal relationship – the antbirds obtained a foraging benefit from the anteater, which was in turn unaffected by the birds. My observation suggests that ant-following birds may respond to other disturbances in addition to army ant swarms to find food.

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