Blue-throated Bee-eater handling a bee

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 0

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As the name implies, the main diet of the Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis) is honeybees (Apis spp.) and other hymenopterans. It also eats other insects like flies, beetles, bugs, moths, butterflies, dragonflies and even small fishes.

The bird forages from a high perch, to return to the perch to beat the prey before swallowing. With smaller, soft insects, they are swallowed at once, in other words, eaten on the wing. Bee-eaters also feast at termite hatches and pick insects as they flee from forest fires. They also regurgitate pellets after their meals.

With hymenopterans that are capable of stinging, they are caught, branch-swiped and de-venomed by rubbing against the branch. This has been documented by Dr. Redzlan Abdul Rahman, whose images are shown on the left and below. The structure dangling from the branch below the bird’s bill (below left) and to the left of the perching bird (bleow right) consists of two mistletoe seeds joined by a sticky mucilaginous strand. The seeds were left there probably by a Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum).

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