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Blue-Throated Bee-Eater

Merops viridis [mer' ops vir' id is]

Description

This bee-eater is about 10 to 11 inches long, including its long streaming tail streamers that can be 2-3 inches long. It is distinguished from other bee-eaters by its chocolate head, nape and upper back and its blue throat. Both sexes are similar in coloration, while juveniles are duller, have a green instead of chocolate head, blue throat, and no central elongated feathers.

Blue-Throated Bee-Eater

Distribution and Habitat

Found in East and Southeast Asia, this species is unique in that it breeds in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula but winters in Indonesia. It inhabits lowland and mangrove forests, open habitats, marshes, beach scrub, gardens, and even urban areas.

Diet

Like all other bee-eaters, this bird feeds on stinging insects that are caught on the wing with an audible click of the bill, as well as other non-stinging insects and, occasionally small izards and fish. The bird will either whack its pray against a perch to knock off the stinger or simply squeeze it to get rid of the venom. Blue-throated bee-eaters usually forage in pairs or in groups of up to 15, but will gather into relatively flocks to take advantage of swarming insects.

Reproduction

Blue-throated bee-eaters nest in colonies of 5-20 pairs. Their nests consist of burrows up to 4 inches wide and 4 feet deep dug by both sexes into light sandy soil with good drainage; the nesting chamber itself is about 3 inches by 7 inches and unlined. Both parents incubate the 3-6 whie eggs, and also partipcate in the rearing of the chicks, which fledge at about 30 days and then stay in the nest for a few more weeks thereafter.

Other Information

Blue-throated bee-eaters roost together in mangroves and forests. Their typical call sounds like be-rek; its alarm call a sharp chirp.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Coraciiformes
family Meropidae
genus & species Aceros nipalensis

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This page was last updated on July 14, 2017.