New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1984) 7: 165- 168

Feeding Association between Fantails and Saddlebacks - Who Benefits

Research Article
Ian G. McLean 1,2
  1. Department of Zoology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. Present address: Department of Biology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada TIK 3M4

A feeding association between two New Zealand passerine birds, saddlebacks (Philesturnus carunculatus, Callaeidae), and fantails (Rhipidura fuliginosa, Muscicapidae) is described. Saddlebacks are poor fliers, give loud vocalisations, and feed noisily. These characteristics allow fantails to find saddlebacks and to capture insects disturbed by the saddleback's activity. Fantails follow at a distance of about 50 cm, and tend to remain behind and below the saddleback. Fantails use different feeding sites when feeding in association with saddlebacks than they use when feeding alone.