Blue-tailed Bee-eater: Breeding in Ipoh, Malaysia?

posted in: Bee-eaters, Morphology-Develop. | 1

“This is my second sighting of juveniles Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus philippinus) in the exact same location (less than 20 meters away). The last was 13th December 2008 when I saw a family of four – two were clearly adults, one juvenile and the last looked sub-adult (photographic evidence available).

“Today saw a family of five – two were clearly adults, two juveniles and the last looked sub-adult. Posted here two juveniles, the first (below left) less mature than the second (below right).

“Tha above-left shows a sub-adult juvenile while above-right an adult female. The entire composite shows the progression in maturity. Also the presumed adult male in the family (below).

“There is only one confirmed breeding site for Blue-tailed Bee-eater in Peninsula Malaysia which is on the island of Penang. The rest are winter visitors. In addition the breeding period has been clearly documented from February to May.

“Hence the sighting of juveniles today and on 13/12/2008 poses some issues. It is possible that there is a later breeding period up north (Thailand & beyond) and these juvenile flew down with parents. Another possibility is that there is another breeding site in Peninsula Malaysia, in the Ipoh-Tambun area, with a later (earlier?) breeding period. I suspect this is more likely.

“This area has limestone hills, with lots of ex-tin mining ponds and will provide ideal grounds for breeding.

“Will need to find the nesting site to confirm this.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Tambun Interior, Perak, Malaysia
15th November 2009

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