Blue-tailed Bee-eater and the dragonfly

on 31st January 2009

Lee Tiah Khee photographed a Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) in the act of swallowing a dragonfly earlier this year. “It took less than two seconds to swallow it.”

According to our bird specialist R Subaraj, who is also into dragonflies: “Based on the colouration, the shape of the abdomen, the reddish tinge in the wing and the brown patch at the base of the hindwing, I would lean toward the dragonfly being a male Tramea transmarina.

“In Singapore, this is a fairly common dragonfly of open country areas, including grasslands.”

Bee-eaters have been documented catching and eating dragonflies. This is probably one of its favourite food. Photographers love to document the bee-eater handling dragonflies as these insects are large, colourful and make excellent subjects.

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

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

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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