Wild Birds

Blue-tailed Bee-eaters

The Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Merops philippinus, is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae.

This species is sometimes considered to be conspecific with the Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, M. persicus (of, or belonging to, the same species).

Blue-tailed Bee-eaters Sitting on a Tree Branch Together
Blue-tailed Bee-eaters Sitting on a Tree Branch Together

Distribution / Range

It breeds in southeastern Asia. It is strongly migratory.

The Blue-tailed Bee-eaters is a bird which breeds in sub-tropical open country, such as farmland, parks or ricefields. It is most often seen near large waterbodies.

These birds also feed and roost communally.

Description

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly-colored, slender bird.

It is predominantly green; its face has a narrow blue patch with a black eye stripe, and a yellow and brown throat; the tail is blue and the beak is black. It can reach a length of 23-26 cm, including the two elongated central tail feathers.

Sexes are alike.

Diet / Feeding

Like other bee-eaters it predominantly eats insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch.

This species probably takes bees and dragonflies in roughly equal numbers. The insects that are caught are beaten on the perch to kill and break the exoskeleton. This habit is seen in many other members of the coraciiformes order.

Blue-tailed Bee-eaters Perching on a Tree Branch
Blue-tailed Bee-eaters Perching on a Tree Branch

Breeding / Nesting

These bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks or open flat areas.

They make a relatively long tunnel in which the 5 to 7 spherical white eggs are laid.

Both the male and the female take care of the eggs.

Calls / Vocalization

The call is similar to that of the European Bee-eater.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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