photography by Amit Dutta

White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides)

White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL | 300 mm | 1/60 sec | f/4.5 | 400
 
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Meropidae
Genus: Merops
Species: M. bullockoides

Identification
The White-fronted Bee-eater, Merops bullockoides, is a species of bee-eaters. This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird, but with a distinctive black mask, white forehead, square tail and a bright red throat. The upperparts are green, with cinnamon underparts. The call is a deep squeak.

Habitat
White-fronted bee-eaters nest in colonies averaging 200 individuals, digging roosting and nesting holes in cliffs or banks of earth. They have one of the most complex family-based social systems found in birds. Colonies comprise socially monogamous, extended family groups with overlapping generations, known as "clans" which exhibit cooperative breeding. Non-breeding individuals become helpers to relatives and assist to raise their brood. In white-fronted bee-eaters, this helping behavior is particularly well developed with helpers assisting in half of all nesting attempts. These helpers may contribute to all aspects of the reproductive attempt, from digging the roosting or nesting chamber, to allofeeding the female, incubating and feeding the young; and have a large effect on increasing the number of young produced.

Their diet is made up primarily of bees, but they also take other flying insects depending on the season and availability of prey. Two hunting methods have been observed. They either make quick hawking flights from lower branches of shrubs and trees, or glide slowly down from their perch and hover briefly to catch insects.
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans) - FemaleWhite-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides)Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis)Olive-backed Sunbird - Female (Cinnyris jugularis)Olive-backed Sunbird - Juvenile Female (Cinnyris jugularis)
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