Red-bearded Bee-eater feeding chicks

In November 2008, S K Foo was at the Panti Forest Reserve in nearby Johor, Malaysia to document a pair of Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus) feeding their chicks.

“…a larger species of bee-eaters. I would never dream of photographing this species as they are rather elusive, feeding mainly on insects and bees that are caught in flight from perches concealed in foliage. They were found in lower part of the forest as they were nesting. They constantly returned with food to feed their nestling(s)… including food that is not in their normal diet (like lizards) (left).

“That was also my only attempt to photograph these lovely bee-eaters because before my next visit to Panti Forest, the chick(s) has fledged and the adult bee-eaters have resumed to their normal habits… and perhaps feeding the chick(s) somewhere up on the trees.”

According to Fry & Fry (1992), these bee-eaters “keep mainly to the middle storey and lower part of the canopy, where there are gaps, allowing sunlight to penetrate, but they come to the ground to nest.” Their food is mainly insects, hawked in flight. These include cicadas (above), crickets, large beetles, termites, ants, wasps, hornets and carpenter bees.

We now add lizard to its list of foods.

Images by SK Foo.

Fry, C.H. & K. Fry, 1992. Kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. New Jersey, Princeton University Press. 324 pp.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

Follow YC Wee:

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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