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14

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

(Merops persicus)
Size: 28-32 cm (incl. tail streamers 4-8 cm); wing span 35-39 cm

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Blue-cheeked Bee-eater at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "persicus"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
[Sun Farms, Sohar, May 2010]

Close-up lateral view of a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
[Sun Farms, Sohar, May 2010]

Close-up lateral view of a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, slightly different posture
[Sun Farms, Sohar, May 2010]

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater landing on a power line
[Sun Farms, Sohar, May 2010]

Direct comparison of the relative sizes of a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (above) and a Green Bee-eater (below)
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a juvenile Blue-cheeked Bee-eater; note the absence of streamers
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

Dorsal view of an adult Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, right, with one of its offspring; note the absence of tails streamers
[Sun Farms, Sohar, May 2010]

Different dorsal view of both Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters; adult on the left, juvenile on the right
[Sun Farms, Sohar, May 2010]

Lunchtime for the young Blue-cheeked Bee-eater on the right
[Sun Farms, Sohar, May 2010]

Behaviour

Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were usually seen in clans of about 10 birds, while their smaller cousins, the Green Bee-eaters, come in pairs or as singles.

Food, Diet

As their name already indicates (and like another member of the Merops genus, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters feed on bees, but also other insects such as e.g. dragonflies. They catch their prey in flight, then take it to their perch where it is killed with a head flick smashing it against the branch.

After catching an insect, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters will sit on a perch, turn their head to a side and then flip around in a sideways downward movement, smashing the insect against the branch that they are sitting on to kill it before devouring it.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were also seen by us to hunt under water (photos below). Although they move around as a group, they hunt individually.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater diving into a pond in a swoop similar to a Gannet's; undesired side-effect: the focus of this shot is on the reflection on the water's surface
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater emerging from water after a short dive
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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