Painted Redstarts (Myioborus Pictus) Attack Larger Prey when Using Flush-Pursue Strategy

Piotr G. Jablonski1, 2, Sang-im Lee1, 3, *
1 Laboratory of Behavioral Ecology and Evolution, School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, South Korea
2 Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wilcza 64, 00-679 Warsaw, Poland
3 DGIST, School of Undergraduate Studies, Daegu 42988, South Korea

© 2018 Jablonski and Lee.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Undergraduate Studies, DGIST, Daegu 42988, South Korea, Tel: 82 53 785 6613; E-mail:



Prey escape reaction in insects is an antipredatory adaptation that is mediated by prey neural escape circuits with specific sensory properties.


Certain insectivorous birds, flush-pursuers, exploit this visual sensitivity by employing conspicuous pivoting movements of spread tail and wings to flush the prey into the air where it is available for chase in aerial pursuits. Although it is known that this strategy increases the number of insects attacked, no information has been published on the size distribution of arthropods attacked using flush-pursue strategy vs. traditional gleaning and pecking off substrate strategy.


Based on one season of observational data of foraging redstarts (Myioborus pictus) we show that prey items that were flushed and chased were on average larger than prey pecked off of substrates.


This may be one of the benefits from flush-pursue foraging – a strategy that is probably costly in terms of energy demands.

Keywords: Myioborus pictus, Predator-prey interactions, Flush-pursuers, Sensory exploitation, Foraging, “Rare enemy”, Prey size.