Genus MEROPS

Bill very long, slender, and pointed, nostrils partially covered by plumes; a few small rictal bristles at the base of the bill; wings long, pointed, 1st primary minute, 2nd longest; the two middle tail-feathers longer than the others, and with their terminal portion narrow.

The genus ranges throughout the greater part of the Old World ; four species are Indian.

Key to the Species.

a. Throat green or chestnut; middle tail-feathers exceed others by more than length of culmen.
a1. Throat green or bluish green : wing 3.6………………………….M. viridis, p. 110.
b1. Chin yellow, throat chestnut: wing 5-6.
a2. Tail blue above ………………………….M. philippinus, p..111.
b2. Tail green above………………………….M. persicus, p. 112.
b. Chin and throat yellow; middle tail-feathers exceed outer by less than length of culmen ………………………….M. apiaster, p. 113.

The habits of all the Bee-eaters are similar. All feed on insects, and the larger species very much on bees and wasps, which they capture in the air, seize across the body, and crush, either with their mandibles or by beating the insect against their perch, before swallowing. They select a perch with a good look-out, often a dead branch at the top of a tree or bush, and they are fond of sitting on telegraph-wires. They generally, after sallying forth and hunting, return to the same perch. They have a pleasant whistling note : they generally live in colonies and make long nest-holes, two or three inches in diameter and often several feet deep, in the bank of a river, on a hill-side, or sometimes on level ground ; at the bottom of this hole they hollow out a chamber, in which their eggs, which are white, glossy, and very spherical ovals, are laid, usually without any lining.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.3 1895.
Title in Book: 
Genus MEROPS
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1895
Page No: 
110
M_ID: 
9471
M_SN: 
Merops
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
1414

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