Bee-eaters usually forage in open habitats near freshwater as well as coasts.
Blue-tailed Bee-eaters roost together and a roost may include huge numbers
(roosts of hundreds have been observed). They prefer to roost in tall trees
inland, as well as in mangroves.
Berek Berek Sawah/Ekor Biru (Malay)
Bee-eaters get their names from their diet of stinging insects (bees,
wasps, hornets, ants). They specialise in catching and neutralising
these titbits that other birds find unappetising or dangerous. But
Bee-Eaters also catch and eat other harmless insects especially dragonflies,
and also grasshoppers, butterflies. In Sungei Buloh, they also catch
Bee-eaters catch their prey on the wing. They look out for suitable
prey from a tree branch or high wire (about 7m and above) then swoop
down onto it. They snap up their victims with an audible click, their
long, narrow bills keeping these dangerous prey a good distance away
from the eyes. To get rid of the sting, the insect is vigorously whacked
against the perch. Or simply squeezed to get rid of the venom.
and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
features: Small (30cm); green crown and back; yellow
and rufous throat; brown upper breast; underparts apple
Call: Described as a liquid
be-rek, be-rek; or rillip rillip rillip.
In flight: Bright blue rump
and tail; underwing coverts reddish brown; pale throat.
(M. viridis): The Blue-Throated lacks the rufous
throat of the Blue-Tailed, but has a chestnut head and
back that the Blue Tailed lacks. Both have a long blue
tail and the same call.
Status in Singapore: Very
common winter visitor throughout the island and to North
and South offshore islands.
World distribution: Africa,
India across to China and the Philippines, Southeast Asia
to New Guinea.
Classification: Family Meropidae.
World 26 species, Singapore 2 species.
Breeding: Like other Bee-eaters, the
Blue-tailed Bee-eaters nest in small colonies. They tunnel out a nest and
prefer light sandy soil that allows good drainage. There is a small, fluctuating
colony of breeding Blue-tailed Bee-eaters in Penang. They chose a bare sandy
flat ground covered with low vegetation in scrubs and tufts. On level ground,
the tunnel slopes down sharply, levels off and may then rise slightly upwards
Migration: Those that breed in the north
are believed to migrate southwards in winter. These birds are seen occasionally
at Sungei Buloh in August-March. In Singapore, Blue-Tailed Bee-Eaters are
found in scrub, mangrove, forest, cultivated areas and grasslands.
Status and threats: Blue-tailed Bee-eaters
are not considered at risk in Singapore.
- Morten Strange,
"A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: including
Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo", Periplus, 2000
(p. 185: description, voice, habits, distribution, status, photo).
- Morten Strange,
"Tropical Birds of Malaysia and Singapore", Periplus
Editions, 2000 (p. 37: habits, habitat, photo).
- David R Wells,
"The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 1 (Non-Passarines)",
Academic Press, 1999 (p. 531-532: identification, distribution map,
habits, habitat, migration, conservation).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Pocket Checklist of the Birds of the Republic of Singapore",
Nature Society (Singapore), 1999 (Abundance, status, Chinese and Malay
- Lim Kim Seng and
Dana Gardner, "Birds: An Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds
of Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing Ltd., 1997 (p. 33: identification,
status in Singapore, distribution, diagram, number of species).
- G W H Davison
and Chew Yen Fook, "A Photographic Guide to Birds of Peninsular
Malaysia and Singapore", New Holland Publishers Ltd., 1995
(p. 62: identification, status in Singapore, distribution, photo).
- Morten Strange
and Allen Jeyarajasingam, "Birds: A Photographic Guide to the
Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing,
1993 (p. 85: description, distribution, habits, habitat, photo).
- Christopher Hails,
"Birds of Singapore" illustrated by Frank Jarvis, Times
Editions, 1987 reprinted 1995 (p. 106: habits, description, status in
Singapore, and lovely drawings of the birds).
- James Gan, "Colourful
Migratory Birds at Sungei Buloh", Wetlands Vol 5 No 3, Nov
98, Sungei Buloh Nature Park (p. 3: some titbits).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Vanishing Birds of Singapore", Nature Society (Singapore),
1992 (p. 11: status in Singapore).
- M W F Tweedie,
"Common Birds of the Malay Peninsula", Longman,1970
(p. 30: description, distribution, habits, habitat, drawing).
- G C Madoc, "An
Introduction to Malayan Birds", Malayan Nature Society, 1947
(p. 100: description, habits, habitat).
- David Attenborough,
"The Life of Birds", Princeton University Press, 1998
(p. 92, 226: feeding and nesting habits).