Blue-tailed Bee-eater on the wing

on 21st November 2016

KC Chan’s image of a Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) in flight was photographed at Tuas South.

BeeEaterBlTl-insect [KC Chan].jpg

Note that the bill is sharp-pointed and slightly decurved. It is not made for stabbing prey but rather to function like a forceps, picking insects out of the air. In this instance the insect between the mandibles will be crushed once the mandibles snap shut.

Bee-eaters forage from a high perch, darting off to catch insects on the wing. With bees, wasps and hornets, they are brought back to the perch. There they are swiped against the branch to remove venom and sting before swallowing. With smaller and softer insects they are swallowed on the wing.

Note the 12 tail feathers fanned out with the central pair elongated into sharply tipped streamers.

KC Chan
18th November 2016

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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