One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Behaviour seen in some birds, in which the bird either picks up ants and rubs them on the feathers or stands with the wings spread and allows the ants to crawl over it. It is probable that the ants' secretions help to keep the feathers in good condition.
- ‘Birds keep their plumage in good condition using a variety of main and subsidiary maintenance behaviors, including preening, scratching, bathing, dusting, sunning, anting, shaking, and ruffling of the feathers.’
- ‘Kingfishers generally preen frequently, and anting has been observed in at least one species of kookaburra.’
- ‘They have been seen sunning themselves and anting.’
- ‘Pipits of the genus Anthus will apply ants to their plumage for cleaning, a behavior called anting.’
- ‘Woodcreepers sunbathe and have been seen anting, a behavior that is thought to help prevent or remove ectoparasites.’
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