Pied Wheatear Eating Mole Cricket – Deffi Park

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Whilst birding Deffi Park recently I came across a eating a Mole Cricket. The insect is from the family Gryllotalpidae measuring 3-5 cm long and as it is nocturnal, so they are seldom seen. This one was found by the Wheatear in the very early morning on a grass field. The scientific name derives from the Latin ‘gryllus’ meaning cricket and ‘talpa’, mole, and refers to its similarity to a mole in both looks and subterranean habits.

The body is brown in colour and covered with fine velvety hairs, and the forelegs are greatly modified for digging with hands like a mole. Adults and nymphs can be found throughout the year in extensive tunnel systems that may reach a depth of over one metre. They occur throughout Europe, except Norway and Finland, through the Middle East to western Asia and North Africa.

Pied WheatearOenanthe pleschankais a common spring migrant that is less common in autumn. Most years birds are recorded in spring between early February and Mid-May, peaking in March and in autumn from late August to mid-November commonest in second half of September.

Pied Wheatear eating a Mole Cricket
Pied Wheatear eating a Mole Cricket
Pied Wheatear eating a Mole Cricket
Pied Wheatear eating a Mole Cricket

 

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Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington is a keen birder and amateur photographer located in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia where he goes birding every day. Jem was born in England and is a serious local patch and local area birder who has been birding for almost forty years and has birded in more than fifty countries. Jem is learning to ring birds in Bahrain as a perfect way to learn more about the birds of the area. Saudi Arabia is a very much under-watched and under-recorded country.

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington is a keen birder and amateur photographer located in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia where he goes birding every day. Jem was born in England and is a serious local patch and local area birder who has been birding for almost forty years and has birded in more than fifty countries. Jem is learning to ring birds in Bahrain as a perfect way to learn more about the birds of the area. Saudi Arabia is a very much under-watched and under-recorded country.

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