Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Bee-eaters
   
   

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


Fig 2 : Blue-tailed Bee-eater


Fig 3 : Blue-tailed Bee-eater (sub-adult)


Fig 4 : Blue-throated Bee-eater


Fig 5 : Chestnut-headed Bee-eater


 

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

Fig 2 : Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Merops philippinus
Location : Springleaf, Singapore
Habitat : Wooded parkland
Notes : Seen hawking for insects in the late afternoon sun.

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

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

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