The distinct characteristic of this avian creature lies in its forehead that gleams in varying hues of blue and green. Moreover, it flaunts a lengthy blue stripe extending from its throat to the chest and a muted yellow beak adorned with streaks of green.
Get ready to meet the Blue-bearded Bee-eater! This stunning bird has a unique blue and green plumage with a distinctive blue throat patch. They are found in various parts of Asia, from India to Indonesia. Known for their long, curved beaks, they mainly feed on bees and other flying insects. With their vibrant colors and impressive hunting skills, the Blue-bearded Bee-eater is definitely a bird worth admiring.
The Blue-bearded bee-eater, scientifically known as Nyctyornis athertoni, is a bird species that possesses distinctive physical characteristics. It has lengthy chin feathers that can be puffed up to create a beard-like appearance, and it is the largest bee-eater in its family, growing up to 31-35 cm long and weighing between 70-93 grams. Its bill is curved like a sickle, and its tail is squared with no visible wires. The bird’s body is predominantly grass-green with a turquoise forehead, face, and chin, while its elongated throat feathers produce a bearded effect when fluffed. It has a yellowish to olive belly with streaks of green or blue.
It’s worth noting that distinguishing between male and female blue-bearded bee-eaters can be challenging since they share similar physical characteristics. However, one key difference is that the male’s blue throat feathers have a higher ultraviolet reflectivity than the female’s. Interestingly, this bird species is named after Lieutenant John Atherton, a member of the 13th Light Dragoons who passed away in 1827. After acquiring a specimen of the bird, Lieutenant Atherton’s niece, Mrs. P. J. Selby, worked with Sir William Jardine to describe the species in their publication “Illustrations of Ornithology,” which was published in 1828.
The bee-eater is a distinctive bird species that roams across several parts of the Indian subcontinent and certain regions in Southeast Asia. Its habitat includes a diverse range of environments.
These birds, known for their unique appearance, can be found in forest clearings mainly in the Malayan region and some parts of peninsular India. They thrive in different habitats, particularly at medium altitudes below 2000 meters, and usually inhabit forests ranging from thin to fairly dense, often with clearings. You’ll likely come across these birds by themselves or in small groups of up to three individuals, and they’re not commonly found throughout their entire range. Spotting them can be quite challenging.
One thing that makes them stand out is the distinctive long blue feathers on their throats, which is the reason for their unique name. While they are known for being noisy, they are not as sociable and active as other smaller bee-eater species. Another interesting fact is that their tails have a square end and lack the “wires” found in longer central tail feathers of many other bee-eaters.
The blue-bearded bee-eater is a fascinating bird with unique behavioral and ecological traits. These birds primarily subsist on bees and have an interesting way of dealing with large honeybee colonies. They purposely provoke the bees, prompting them to attack, but then catch and consume the bees while in flight. Although they typically hunt by swooping through the air, they occasionally collect food from tree bark. Blue-bearded bee-eaters have also been observed socializing with mixed-species groups while feeding near Erythrina and Salmalia flowers, but their precise dietary preferences during these encounters remain unclear.
The bee-eaters are popular for their loud vocalizations, although they don’t vocalize frequently. They are not as energetic as their smaller fellow birds and their calls comprise of a variety of sounds, including cackling hornbill-like noises, dry “Kit-tik…Kit-tik” series, or hollow nasal “kyao” calls. When they are together, they may perform duets that involve cackling and rattling sounds, culminating in brief purring notes. Their flying style is rippling and evocative of barbets.
The blue-bearded bee-eater is a bird species that breeds in India from February through August. When it comes to courtship, they have a variety of activities such as feeding rituals, bowing, and tail-fanning. The nesting process normally starts approximately one month before the egg-laying process. These birds are known for constructing deep tunnels in mud banks where they lay four spherical white eggs.
Pause for a minute and enjoy the sweet sounds of this feathered friend’s tweet.