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Fauna of Central Australia

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Fauna of Central Australia
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)

Often referred to as the ‘Rainbow Bird’, this medium size bird measures up to 27 cm including the tail. The upper part show green forehead, golden crown, green back; turquoise/blue, green and chestnut wings. With plumage that combines pastel tints with bright hues, the Rainbow Bee-eater has a relatively long, slim beak, that has a slight down curve. The tail is black, extending in a pair of long, fine tail streamers with elongated clubbed shaped end. The tail is much shorter and thicker in the female bird and absent in the immature bird.

The Rainbow Bee-eater is found in open airspace such as over woodland and open forest, semi-arid scrub, grassland, farmland. This provides the space for their aerial acrobatics in pursuit of flying insects such as bees and dragonflies. They do require sandy banks or loamy soil soft enough for excavating their nest burrows, but the soil needs to be firm enough to sustain the tunnel to the nest.

Fauna Images — Rainbow Bee-eater

Birds in Central Australia
Rainbow Bee-eater © Colin Leel, August 2007

Rainbow Bee-eater © Colin Leel, August 2007

Rainbow Bee-eater © Colin Leel, June 2007

Rainbow Bee-eater © Colin Leel, August 2007

Immature Rainbow Bee-eater © Dorothy Latimer, August 2007

More information and images can be seen in the Fauna section: Rainbow Bee-eater.
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