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Bee-eater: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Bee-eater: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Unread postby Jumbo » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:57 pm

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)

More info from Wikipedia

The Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Merops persicus, is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family, Meropidae. It breeds in Morocco, Algeria, and subtropical Asia from eastern Turkey to Kazakhstan. It is strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa. This species occurs as a rare vagrant north of its breeding range.

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly-coloured, slender bird. It is predominantly green; its face has blue sides with a black eye stripe, and a yellow and brown throat; the beak is black. It can reach a length of 24-26 cm, including the two elongated central tail feathers. Sexes are alike.

This is a bird which breeds in sub-tropical semi-desert with a few trees, such as acacia. It winters in open woodland or grassland. As the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. However, this species probably takes more dragonflies than any other food item. Its preferred hunting perch is telephone wires if available.

These bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks. They make a relatively long tunnel in which the 4 to 8, spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs. These birds also feed and roost communally.

The call is similar to European Bee-eater.

It has two subspecies
- Merops persicus persicus - Asia
- Merops persicus chrysocercus - Africa
This species is closely related to Blue-tailed Bee-eater, M. philippinus, and was formerly considered conspecific.

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Bee-Eater: Bluecheeked

Unread postby KEPs » Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:10 am

There used to be a colony of Bluecheeked Bee-eaters near the Sweni hide near N'Wanetsi. We used to see them there during summer, but recently couldn't find them. Can anybody confirm whether they are still there, or have they moved away?

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Re: Bluecheeked Bee-Eater

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:35 am

KEPs wrote:There used to be a colony of Bluecheeked Bee-eaters near the Sweni hide near N'Wanetsi. We used to see them there during summer, but recently couldn't find them. Can anybody confirm whether they are still there, or have they moved away?


I know that they were there last summer. Maybe it was just a tad early for them this year at Sweni.

We've found 4 at Kgomo-Kgomo a weekend ago. I am sure they will make their way back to Sweni hide soon. :wink:
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Re: Bee-eater: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:11 pm

They are quite common in NKZN during summer. At the end of summer just prior to migrating back to their breeding grounds in northern Africa and Asia, these bee-eaters congregate in large numbers along the beaches.

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Re: Bee-eater: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:33 pm

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Re: Bee-eater: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Unread postby Highbury » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:09 pm

WTM - Am interested to hear your reports of BC Bee-eater at Sweni . I have read many times that they have been seen there but have always failed to spot them - can you give any further details of which month , and where exactly you saw them ?

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Re: Bee-eater: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:55 am

Hi Highbury,

Late summer, from December onwards but more preferably from Feb - March seems best to find them there.

I have also seen them at the Skukuza golf club, but beware of immature Carmines which may look similar on a quick glance.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby bondm » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:04 pm

Hi, Could you please ID this bird for me.

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I know it is a bee-eater, possibly a Little bee-eater, but the colouring doesn't match my book.

Thanks

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby arks » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:24 pm

It would help with ID if you could please tell us where and when you saw this bee eater?
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:36 am

It is a juvenile blue-cheeked bee-eater. As it matures its colours will gradually intensify into its adult patterns and it will grow tail streamers.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby bondm » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:52 pm

Thanks for your help.

I actually saw the bird near the Botswana border in the Madikwe Game Reserve in early January. I realise it is not a SANParks reserve, but as the title of the section is 'Birding in South Africa' I assumed it would be o/k to post the inquiry.

If I was wrong in my assumption I will go and stand in the corner.

Thanks for the ID Johan. I have never actually seen this particular bee-eater in the Kruger Park, where I spend 3 weeks in Nov/Dec, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby DotDan » Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:41 am

Hi Bondm, you are 100% correct in posting your ID query here. :thumbs_up:

The "Birding in Southern Africa" thread is meant for the purpose of identifying and discussing birds across the area of Southern Africa ;)

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:00 am

bondm wrote:... the title of the section is 'Birding in South Africa' I assumed it would be o/k to post the inquiry.

If I was wrong in my assumption I will go and stand in the corner.


You are not deserving the penalty corner as yet, bondm. :lol: As DD said, this section is for birding SOUTHERN Africa


bondm wrote:I have never actually seen this particular bee-eater in the Kruger Park, where I spend 3 weeks in Nov/Dec, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.


They are difficult in KNP, mostly showing in inaccessible areas. They are sometimes seen in the most northern parts of KNP where they gather in small flocks, especially late in March or early April.

They are more common along the north coast of KZN and in the Northwest Province.
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