Monday, September 25, 2023
Text Size



Red-bearded Bee-eater

Sometimes it's good to take a break and just sit down to enjoy the surroundings when you are birding. That's what I did one afternoon at the Rainforest Discovery Centre at Sepilok. I felt a little drained that day and was lumbering along the jungle path and decided to have a snack on a comfortable bench. After 2 bites of biscuit, I heard the familiar cackle of the Red-bearded Bee-eater. The male sat on a branch no too far in front of me, but soon it flew over to a juvenile which was on a branch just behind me. So I pulled out the camera to record this convenient encounter. 

I first saw this bee-eater in Maxwell's or Bukit Larut around 1000m a.s.l. I hadn't realised it's also a lowland bird. This bee-eater is a common resident of lowland Borneo which usually nests alone by excavating holes on an earth bank. It has a growling, hoarse and quick descending call like kiao-kiao-kiao-kiao which can sometimes be mistaken as an animal sound. The Ben King book records it at as a resident up to 5000ft in Tenasserim, SW and peninsular Thailand and Malaya. 

Its red beard is said to deceive passing bees to approach it as a flower. Hmm..reminds me of the Angler fish.