Bird that engage in anting

Saint Maries, ID

I've asked this question of the staff of Cornell's Lab of Ornithology and other professional birding sites, but I have never gotten an answer that actually addresses this question. So, I shall try here.

I know that some species of birds do "anting", that is, they rub themselves with ants. My question is, how do they avoid being stung or bitten by those ants?

Thus far, all I've gotten for an "answer" has addressed why birds do anting, but nothing addressing their being bitten or stung by the ants they rub onto themselves.

Can anyone tell me how birds that do anting avoid being bitten or stung?

This message was edited Aug 19, 2019 7:52 PM

Saint Maries, ID

Anyone care to address this?

PERTH, Australia

Sorry, Flowermaiden. I know some birds do it and have always assumed that formic acid from the ants might cleanse feathers of parasites. However, it is a guess.

Saint Maries, ID

That isn't what I asked. I asked how birds avoid being stung or bitten by the ants they use for anting. I already am aware of some of the reasons they ant, but I can't figure out how they do it without getting stung or bitten. Some of the ant species they use are very capable of biting and/or stinging them.

Duluth, GA

Well ok, I see Robins, Brown Thrashers, Indigo buntings and some others ant hunting everyday in my backyard. They do not seem to be stung. I think their thick tufted feathers protect them from any kind of direct injury.

This message was edited May 5, 2020 9:39 AM

New York City, NY

true that what oyiniwitch said

This message was edited Aug 11, 2020 4:53 PM

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