Courtship feeding of a Red-bearded Bee-eater

posted in: Bee-eaters, Courtship-Mating | 3

Ashley Ng shared an image of a male Red-bearded Bee-Eater (Nyctyornis amictus) with a cicada in its bill trying to attract a potential mate. Bee-eaters do indulge in courtship feeding and this may be a rare image of the ritual. This species does not occur in Singapore but can be seen in Peninsula Malaysia.

As with bee-eaters, it hunts from a high perch keeping close watch on the airspace around. Once an insect is seen, it dashes off to capture it. The bird has been recorded to take carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.), cicadas, beetles, crickets, termites and ants.

As with many insectivorous birds, bee-eaters cast pellets of indigestible insect parts regularly. This is also the case with most carnivore species such as raptors, owls and shrikes.

Input and image by Ashley Ng.

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    A nicely doneup image of a colorful bird, no doubt. An insect in the beak, doesn’t meant it is to be a ‘rare image of the (courtship) ritual’.

  2. YC

    We have seen many images of different species of birds, each with an insect or other invertebrate in its beak. These just provide information on what the birds eat. Unfortunately the birders or photographers have not observed further what the birds did with the food. Ashley here did just that. Such a simple observation provides useful info on bird behaviour.

    We would be more than happy to post such images of courtship rituals, for bee-eaters as well as other species – if only to prove that they are common, and I am sure such behaviour is common. It is just that they are not reported or maybe even observed.

    Remember, unless such observations are published, they remain unknown to the birding community at large, and as such serve very very limited pourpose.

    How about it, birders and photographers?

  3. pigeon

    For Mr/Ms Anonymous who is getting alot of attention lately,

    I posted my observation of this bird behaviours on pigeon-holes egroup on a much earlier date.

    If you like, i can always post you
    the details of my encounter and evidence of this observation. However i will need your name and email address for my necessary follow-up.

    Just for your info. I am very familiar with this species of Bee-Eater especially the Red-bearded and have photographed them in many occasion in various countries.

    Lastly, thanked you for your compliments, you are very much appreciated. Hope to know you better in person!


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