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Swallow-tailed Bee-eater | Merops hirundineus

The Swallow-tailed Bee-eater is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Meropidae bird family group which includes birds such as Bee eaters.

The description for the Swallow-tailed Bee-eater (Latin name Merops hirundineus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Merops hirundineus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 445 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 188. You will find a picture of the Swallow-tailed Bee-eater on page 192.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Swallow-tailed Bee-eater between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Swallow-tailed Bee-eater is known in Afrikaans as Swaelstertbyvreter.

The Swallow-tailed Bee-eater has a height of 21 cms and weighs around 23 gms. The head is coloured bronze, green while the bill is coloured black. The Merops hirundineus has a yellow coloured throat, black legs and a bronze, green coloured back. The eyes are orange.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is bronze, green

Eyes are orange

Bill is black

Legs are black

Throat is yellow

Back is bronze, green

Feeding Habits ...

This birds forages for fish and other aquatic dwellers through surface sizing and diving for food in the water.

The Merops hirundineus attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Swallow-tailed Bee-eater is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builts its nest in a hole in the ground.

The Swallow-tailed Bee-eater is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Swallow-tailed Bee-eater is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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