1028. Merops persicus.
The Blue-cheeked Bee-eater.
Merops persicus, Pall. Reis. Puss. Reichs, ii, Anhang, p. 708 (1773); Blyth, Cat. p. 52; Davids, & Wend. S. F. vii, p. 77 ; Hume, Cat. no. 120; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 429: Davidson, S. F. x, p. 295; Barnes, Birds Bomb. p. 95 ; Swinhoe & Barnes, Ibis, 1885, p. 61 ; Dresser, Mon. Mer. p. 63, pl. xvi; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 157 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 65; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 66. Merops aegyptius, Forsk. Descr. An., Aves, p. 1 (1775) ; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 89; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 209; G. F. L. Marshall, Ibis, 1872, p. 203; Hume, S. F. i. p. 167; iii, p. 326; Adam, S. F. i, p. 371; Butler, S. F. iii, p. 456; vii, p. 181.
The Egyptian Bee-eater, Jerdon.
Coloration. Very similar to M. philippinus, but greener. Fore-head white, passing into verditer-blue, which unites the long blue supercilia; a black streak through the lores past the eye to the ear-coverts, bordered below by white, passing down into blue and then into green on the cheeks ; upper parts and wings green, bluer on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; quills greenish rufous, tipped blackish; tail-feathers also rufescent green, the long median pair dusky at the tips; chin yellow, throat chestnut, rest of lower parts green like the back ; wing-lining brownish rufous.
Bill black; iris red ; legs and feet fleshy (C. T. Bingham).
Length about 12; tail 5 to 6, to end of outer rectrices 3.7; wing 6 ; tarsus .55 ; bill from gape 1.75.
Distribution. Migratory, wintering in Africa, and passing the summer in Western and Central Asia. A summer visitant to Northwestern India, breeding in parts of Sind, Rajputana, the Punjab, and Afghanistan, and ranging occasionally during migration as far as Gilgit, Aligarh and Mainpuri in the N. W. Provinces, Mhow, Khandesh, and even Pandharpur in the Bombay Deccan, where Mr. Davidson obtained a young specimen in October. This species has not, so far as I know, been observed in Kashmir proper.
Habits, &c. Similar to those of other Bee-eaters. This species breeds near Delhi, as observed by Bingham, from the middle of May to the middle of July, and lays 3 to 5 eggs in the usual nest-hole. The eggs measure on an average .95 by .81.