|Vembanad Lake, Kerala, India|
The blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It breeds in southeastern Asia. It is strongly migratory, seen seasonally in much of peninsular India.
This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird. It is predominantly green; its face has a narrow blue patch with a black eye stripe, and a yellow and brown throat; the tail is blue and the beak is black. It can reach a length of 23–26 cm, including the two elongated central tail feathers. Sexes are alike.
This is a bird which breeds in sub-tropical open country, such as farmland, parks or ricefields. It is most often seen near large waterbodies. Like other bee-eaters it predominantly eats insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch.This species probably takes bees and dragonflies in roughly equal numbers. The insects that are caught are beaten on the perch to kill and break the exoskeleton. This habit is seen in many other members of the coraciiformes order.
These bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks or open flat areas. They make a relatively long tunnel in which the 5 to 7 spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs. These birds also feed and roost communally. The call is similar to that of the European bee-eater.
- Fry, Fry and Harris. Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Rollers.
- Dharmakumarsinhji, K. S. (1958). Bluetailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus Linnaeus in western Saurashtra. JBNHS 55: 351-352.
- Phillips, W. W. A. (1956). Prolonged stay of the Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus philippinus) in eastern Ceylon. Spolia Zeylanica 28(1): 109.
- Norris, C. E. (1963). The Bluetailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus Linnaeus, nesting in Ceylon. JBNHS 60: 259.
- Neelakantan, K. K. (1948). On the breeding of the Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus javanicus) in Rajahmundri, East Godavari district. JBNHS 47: 741-742.
- Kasambe, R. (2004). Nesting of Blue Tailed Bee-eaters in Amravati District of Maharashtra. NLBW 44(2): 21-22
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