“On the warm afternoon of 8th December 2015, a Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) arrived at its perch with a chunky bee between its beak (above, below). This freshly captured prey was a male Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa aestuans).

“With swift and skillful manipulation of the bee, it was soon swallowed whole, head-first (below). This is probably equivalent to a person trying to swallow an ‘Old Chang Kee’ curry puff in its entirety.

Yet another airborne insect was also successfully subdued. This time, it was a Common Flangetail (Ictinogomphus decoratus) dragonfly (below).

“After some preliminary bashing, the Bee-eater decided to relocate to a more conducive perch to finish off its meal (below).

“Video clips of the Bee-eater processing its insect prey may be previewed here:”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
22nd January 2016

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