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Art by Barry Kent MacKay
The Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus) is one of two large species with shaggy throat feathers, or beards, found in eastern Asia and Malaysia. I saw it in Borneo. The other species is the Blue-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis athertoni), whose range includes the Indian sub-continent, and whose “beard” is pale blue. It is interesting that similar birds, called jacamars, evolved independently in the tropical western hemisphere, also have slender beaks and sally forth from observational perches to snatch insects from mid-air.
Bee-eaters are slender birds with long, thin beaks and bright colours. Various species are found in Africa and southern Asia, with one species found in southern and central Europe, and one species found in Australia. In spite of their thin beaks they regularly catch bees and other flying insects in mid-air.
Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
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