Blue-throated Bee-eater: 3. Feeding the chicks

Part 1 on courtship and mating and Part 2 on nest excavation have already been posted earlier. The current post on the continuing saga of the Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis), documented by Dr JWK Cheah, is on how the chicks were fed.

It is not possible to say exactly when the chicks hatched in the month of June 2009, considering that the eggs were deposited deep inside the four tunneled nests. But signs of at least one egg hatching in one of the nests became obvious when the adults were observed busy ferrying foods to the nest.

The Blue-Throated Bee-Eaters would perch high over their nests to catch insects. Once an insect appeared, the particular bird swooped down to gain speed, glided towards the target and caught it in its bill. It then returned to its perch to bash it against the branch and if necessary, to de-sting it if it was a bee.

Before flying to its nest, the bird usually scanned the surroundings for potential predators. If it was wary of predators it would hover around or loop in order to test the surroundings, but if there was an urgent need to feed the hungry chicks when nesting accelerated or there was no perceived threat, it would fly straight to the nest and enter it.

The menu changes in order to provide the juveniles with a variety of nutrition.

Imput and composite image of the Blue-throated Bee-eater delivering a butterfly to its nest by Dr JWK Cheah.

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

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