Blue-tailed Bee-eater on the wing

posted in: Bee-eaters, Feeding strategy | 1

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

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