1027. Merops philippinus.
The Blue-tailed Bee-eater.
Merops philippinus, Linn. Syst. Nat. ed. xiii (Vindob.), i, p. 183 (1767); Jerdon. Madr. Jour. L. S. xi, p. 228; Blyth, Cat. p. 52; Horsf. & M. Cat. p. 86; Walden, Tr. Z. S. viii, p. 42; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 456; iv, pp. 36, 287; xi, p. 42 ; id. Cat. no. 118; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 72 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, pp. 67, 498; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 203; Cripps, ibid. p. 258; Legge, Birds Ceyl.y. 306; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 370 ; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 49; Bingham, ibid. p. 152 ; Butler, ibid. p. 381; Davison, S. F. x. p. 350 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 66; Dresser, Mon. Met: p. 55, pl. xv ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 94; Littledale, Jour. Bomb. N. H. Soc. i, pp. 31, 196 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 63; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 71. Merops philippensis, Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 207; Ball, S. F. i, p. 57 ; Anderson, Yunnan Exp., Aves, p. 581. Merops daudini, Cuv. Regne Anim. Nouv. ed. i, p. 442 (1829), descr. nulla; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 162 ; iii, p. 49.
Bara patringa, H.; Komu passeriki, Tel.; Huet-pasin-to, Burm.
Coloration. Lores and a streak past the eye to the ear-coverts black, bordered above by a narrow pale verditer-blue supercilium and below by a broader blue line. Upper parts to rump, including the wing-coverts, green with a rufous tinge passing into the verditer-blue of the rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail; tertiaries also sometimes bluish; middle pair of tail-feathers with elongate black tips, and all tail-feathers dark brown beneath : wing-feathers more rufous green than the back, all except the tertiaries tipped with black, the outer webs bluish or brighter greenish towards the tip; chin yellow; throat chestnut, passing into green on the breast, this passes into pale blue round the vent and on the lower tail-coverts ; wing-lining light brownish rufous.
Bill black; irides crimson; legs dusky plumbeous (Jerdon).
Length about 12 ; tail 5-6, outer feathers only 3.5 ; wing 5.25; tarsus .5 ; bill from gape 2.
Distribution. Throughout the greater part of the Oriental region. This Bee-eater is generally but somewhat locally dis¬tributed over India, Ceylon, and Burma, extending west to Sind, but not found in the Himalayas.
Habits, &c. A resident species, but partially migratory in many places, and in Ceylon merely a winter visitant; it keeps much to forest countries and well-wooded districts, and generally breeds in the banks of rivers. It feeds on wasps, bees, dragonflies, beetles, and even butterflies. It sometimes congregates in large numbers, but is more often seen in small companies or singly. Its voice is described by Jerdon as a full, mellow, rolling whistle. It breeds, usually in large colonies, from March to June, in a hole 4 to 7 feet long, the egg-chamber being occasionally lined with grass or feathers ; it lays usually four or five white, glossy, nearly spherical eggs, measuring about .88 by .76.