Blue-tailed Bee-eater catching insects from a perch

suicidal bugs v champion bee-eater @ Pasir Ris Mangroves from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.

Andy Dinesh’s video clip of a Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) was documented at Singapore’s Pasir Ris mangroves in late December 2011 LINK. This is a classic study of the bee-eater’s agility in catching insects while perching at the end of a bare branch in a hot afternoon.

According to Andy, “The clip shows a bee-eater being apparently dive-bombed by some bugs. It follows the bugs even to the extent of twisting its neck backwards. Finally, it sees a bug approaching and with a timely hop off its perch, and despite the strong wind swaying the tree that provides the perch, it grabs the bug in its beak with finesse and flies away. (Look at the 25% and 12.5% slo-mo segments).”

Many bee-eaters hunt from a leafy perch, making sorties to catch passing insects. These can include bees, wasps, hornets, dragonflies, beetles, cicadas and alate termite. According to Fry (2001), “Bee-eaters hunt almost entirely on the wing, either by making fly-catching sallies from a bare elevated perch or by feeding in continuous flight.” In the case of this Blue-tailed Bee-eater, its hunting behaviour appears to be different, making only occasional short sallies to catch nearby insects.

Andy Dinesh
January 2012

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


One Response

  1. Interesting story of a spying bee-eater! So paranoid. Hahaha…
    Read more in this link


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