Encounter with juvenile bee-eater in an earth cavity

posted in: Bee-eaters, Nesting | 0

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“On 28/6/08 morning while I was taking pictures around the vacant land somewhere along the Kadaloor LRT Station in Punggol, I came across a dugout on the sandy ground,” wrote Hourman (left).

“As I approached I saw two juvenile birds near the entrance of the hole (left bottom). The moment they noticed my presence, they started backtracking into it. The hole wasn’t that deep because they could still be seen when they finally stopped, and the two crammed together (below).

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“The dugout was too big to be dug by the adult. I believed it’s more like the work of feral dogs I saw around. The juveniles didn’t look like some water birds, so I find it strange that they nested on sandy ground. It will be great if BESG can ID the juveniles.”

The image was sent to our bird specialist, R. Subaraj who wrote: “Could they be juvenile Blue-throated Bee-eaters? The only colourful species, off the top of my head, that nests in holes on sandy ground or slopes is this bee-eater.”

All bee-eaters are earth-hole nesters, excavating their own tunnels that end with an egg chamber at the end. Rarely do they use a ready-made rodent’s burrow

Reference:
Fry, C.H. (2001). Family Meropidae (Bee-eaters). Pp. 286-341 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. (2001). Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 6. Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.

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