Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Red-bearded bee-eater

Nyctyornis amictus

Photo by Tom Stephenson (Discover Life)

Common name:
red-bearded bee-eater (en); abelharuco-de-garganta-vermelha (pt); guêpier à fraise (fr); abejaruco barbirrojo (es); rotbartspint (de)

Order Coraciiformes
Family Meropidae

This species is only found in south-east Asia, from southern Myanmar and south-west Thailand, through Malaysia and Singapore, and into the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Bangka, and Borneo.

These birds are 27-31 cm long. Males tend to be larger than females, with the males weighing 68-92 g while females weigh 61-70 g.

Red-bearded bee-eaters are mostly found in primary rainforests, both in plains and in mountainous areas up to 1.500 m above sea level. They are also found in secondary woodland, flooded forests along swamps and lagoons, and even in large wooded gardens.

These birds are insectivorous, taking insects in flight. Their diet includes cicadas, crickets, large beetles, termites, ants, wasps, hornets, carpenter bees and other bees.

They nest in August-March. Like all bee-eaters, they nest in a burrow tunnelled into the side of sandy bank. There the female lays 3-5 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 23-27 days.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
Although the global population size has not been quantified, the species is known to have a population density of 20 individuals/km2 in primary lowland forest in Borneo and 10 individuals/km2 in forest on Peninsular Malaysia. The population is suspected to be in decline as lowland rainforests are being replaced with palm oil and rubber plantations throughout much of its range. Still, this species is not considered threatened at present.

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