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Bee-eaters
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5


 

Bee-eaters comprise a group of graceful, brightly coloured, slender bodied, long billed birds in the family Meropidae. They eat a variety of winged insects including bees, wasps, flying beetles and dragonflies.

Bee-eaters congregate at high, open perches - particularly dead trees in open countryside, riverine areas or forest edge. From their vantage point their sharp eyes can easily spot insect prey, which is always caught on the wing.

Southeast Asia's bee-eaters typically nest in burrows excavated in sandy cliff faces, or in bare ground, but have also been observed nesting in man-made, abandoned piles of sandy soil. The Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctornis amictus, is known to nest in termite mounds.

Bee-eaters reach their greatest diversity in Africa, however eight species of bee-eater occur within Southeast Asia either as residents or migrants.


Fig 1 : Red-bearded Bee-eater (male)

Nyctyornis amictus
Habitat : Lower montane primary forest.
Location : Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia
Notes : Elevation of 1050 metres.

Fig 2 : Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Merops philippinus
Habitat : At margin of freshwater lake
Location : Byram, Penang, Peninsular Malaysia
Notes : Perching on a thin branch of a dead tree.

Fig 3 : Blue-tailed Bee-eater (subadult)
Merops philippinus
Habitat : At margin of freshwater lake
Location : Byram, Penang, Peninsular Malaysia
Notes : Perching on a dead tree.

Fig 4 : Blue-throated Bee-eater
Merops viridis
Habitat : Sandy grassland and scrub
Location : Penanti, Penang, Peninsular Malaysia
Notes : Two adults in argumentative mood.

Fig 5 : Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Merops leschenaulti
Habitat : Sandy grassland and scrub
Location : Penanti, Penang, Peninsular Malaysia
Notes :
Adult and juvenile at the entrance to their burrow.