Comments: Forages for arthropods, principally flying insects, while in flight (Terres 1991). With rare exceptions, foraging is diurnal (Bent 1940, Oberholser 1974). Occasionally picks insects off tips of tree branches (Fischer 1958). Fischer (1958) examined over 1000 insects fed to young in New York. Principal food items (95%), in decreasing order of frequency, included Diptera, Homoptera, Hymenoptera, Ephemeroptera, and Plecoptera. The remainder of the diet was composed of Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Trichoptera, Siphonaptera, and Arachnids. Fleas (Siphonaptera) inhabiting the nest may have entered the diet accidentally (Fischer 1958). At times the diet is comprised overwhelmingly of one insect group or species, apparently the result of selection of insects when locally abundant (Fischer 1958). Bent (1940) also reported that insects are the principal prey items, including agricultural pests such as the potato beetle (LEMA TRILINEATA) and the tarnished plant bug (LYGUS PRATENSIS). Wanders a mile (1.6 km) or more from the nest when foraging (Fischer 1958). One individual was observed attempting to steal a dragonfly (Odonata) from the beak of a flying Purple Martin (PROGNE SUBIS; Brown 1980). Water is obtained on the wing by skimming low over bodies of water (Oberholser 1974).
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