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Swallow-tailed bee-eater

This is a swallow-tailed bee-eater (Merops hirundineus).  They prefer a more wooded environment than the lilac-breasted roller featured in yesterday’s post (A High Roller, 10.19.14).

The bee-eater, as you may have already guessed, eats bees.  Though they’ll also eat other flying and stinging insects like wasps and hornets, they prefer honeybees, and they only catch them in flight.  They have keen eyesight and are maneuverable fliers.

After they catch a bee in their beak, they’ll land and brush the stinger and venom sac off by rubbing the bee on another object like a branch or a rock before consuming the insect.

As with the lilac-breasted roller, the male and female swallow-tailed bee-eaters look the same.

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