SPECIES

Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus Scientific name definitions

William D. Harrod and Ronald L. Mumme
Version: 2.0 — Published July 29, 2022

Diet and Foraging

Introduction

Slate-throated Redstart feeds primarily on flying insects, particularly those in the orders Homoptera (planthoppers and relatives), Diptera (flies), and Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) (37, 1, 2). Non-flying invertebrates and insect larvae are consumed occasionally (35), as are the Müllerian bodies produced by Cecropia plants (35, 4, 38).

Feeding

Microhabitat for Foraging

Typically forages actively in the middle and lower canopy and upper understory, occasionally foraging on the ground. It frequently joins mixed species foraging flocks (35, 39, 40) and often follows army ant swarms to feed off the insects that are stirred up by the ants (41, 42).

Food Capture and Consumption

Like other members of the genus Myioborus, Slate-throated Redstart is an active forager, most noted for its flush-pursuit foraging behavior. It uses animated displays of the white patches on the outer tail feathers to startle flying insects, which are then attacked and captured in frequently intricate and acrobatic pursuit flights. In a field experiment performed in Costa Rica, birds with experimentally darkened tail feathers were less successful at attacking prey and delivering food to their nestlings than were unmanipulated control birds. Although flush-pursuit foraging is the most conspicuous and characteristic of their foraging behaviors, flycatching is more widely employed, especially for birds not feeding nestlings or dependent fledglings (1).

Diet

Of 55 prey items delivered to nestlings in Costa Rica and sampled by the neck ligature method (RLM, unpublished data), 51% were Homoptera, 35% were Diptera, and 9% were representatives of other flying insect orders (Psocoptera, Coleoptera, and Hymenoptera); the remaining 5% were small snails and jumping spiders (family Salticidae). In shade-coffee plantations in Chiapas, Mexico, the diet consisted of 32% Hymenoptera, 32% Coleoptera, and 14% Diptera, based on 44 identifiable prey items from the stomach contents of 8 individuals (43).

Food Selection and Storage

Information needed.

Nutrition and Energetics

Information needed.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Information needed.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

Information needed.

Recommended Citation

Harrod, W. D. and R. L. Mumme (2022). Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.sltred.02