Friday, May 21, 2010

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The Blue-tailed Bee-eater is a common migrant which dispersers throughout the country. Small groups of these birds have been spotted taking up residence in tall trees around Colombo. These images were captured in Anuradhapura near Tissa Wewa (lake). The birds were flying out over the water to catch insects and kept returning to the fence to consume their prey or to take a small break. Returning to the same perch while hunting is common behaviour among Fly-catchers. It's very difficult to photograph these birds in flight as they are quick. More images and info inside.

A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Differentiating the Blue-tailed Bee-eater from other Bee eaters is not difficult. It doesn't have a black line across it's throat like the other Bee-eaters found in Sri Lanka and it has a lot of brown and very little yellow around the throat area (reverse of the  Chestnut-headed Bee-eater). It's long central tail feathers are also prominent. The tail is obviously blue in colour. It can reach a length of around 23-26 cm and both sexes are similar.

A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

These birds nest in colonies on sandy banks or open flat areas. They build a relatively long tunnel in which they lay 5 - 7 spherical white eggs.  The eggs are taken care of by both males and females.  These birds feed and roost in groups.

A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The images on this post were captured with a Canon 7D and the 100-400mm lens.

A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Blue-tailed Bee-eater photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka


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