A most remarkable bird lives in northern Sri Lanka. The Archer Warbler lives around Trincomalee where it is colloquially known as the spitting bird or insect shooting bird. The Archer Warbler drinks sea water, but doesn’t swallow it. The bird then flies to a tree and waits for insects to fly by. Once a target has been selected, the Archer Warbler fires a jet of water and brings down the insect. The bird flies down, grabs the insect, and then washes it in a puddle or freshwater lake before eating it.

The Archer Warbler will also fire water at wasp’s nests and eat any wasp incapacitated by the water. The bird can fire a jet of water for about five seconds and hits the target roughly two-thirds of the time. The bird only ever fires salt water at targets, because it has learnt that freshwater is precious and should not be wasted.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided