American Redstart vs Planthopper
The struggle to survive isn’t always a fair fight.
A redstart fans its wings and tail to expose Halloween-colored feathers. The sudden flash of color startles insects and flushes them out of hiding.
A sharp beak helps the hungry bird pluck insects from leaves while netlike whiskers funnel flying bugs into its mouth.
Pop and Hop
When spooked, a planthopper makes an explosive hop, rocketing out of reach from snapping bird beaks.
The leaflike veins and green color of a planthopper’s wings make the sneaky bug all but invisible as it crawls along a leaf.
And the winner is…
The agile redstart hops quickly from branch to branch, flicking its flashy feathers to flush planthoppers from hiding. Some of the bugs pop off to safety. But many end up in the bird’s belly.
Also In This Issue
Use Xplor’s mini field guide to discover 10 of Missouri’s most common butterflies — that are anything but ordinary.
This Issue's Staff
Alexis (AJ) Joyce
Angie Daly Morfeld