White-throated bee-eater, new species for North Africa


This video says about itself:

On Location: The White-Throated Bee-Eater

The White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It breeds in semi-desert along the southern edge of the Sahara, Africa. The White-throated Bee-eater is migratory, wintering in a completely different habitat in the equatorial rainforests of Africa from southern Senegal to Uganda.

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly-coloured, slender bird. It is predominantly green, but its face and throat are white with a black crown, eye stripe, and neckband. The underparts are pale green shading to blue on the breast. The eye is red and the beak is black.

The White-throated Bee-eater can reach a length of 19-21 cm, excluding the two very elongated central tail feathers, which can exceed an additional length of 12 cm. They weigh between 20 and 28 grams. Sexes are alike. The call is similar to European Bee-eater.

The White-throated Bee-eater is a bird which breeds in dry sandy open country, such thorn scrub and near-desert. These abundant bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks or open flat areas. They make a relatively long 1-2 m tunnel in which the 6 to 7 spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs, but up to five helpers also assist with caring for the young.

White-throated Bee-eaters also feed and roost communally. As the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. However, this species probably takes mainly flying ants and beetles. Widespread and common throughout its large range, the White-throated Bee-eater is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The other white-throated bee-eater video, below here, shows this species rather poorly, compared to the first video. However, it is still a special video, as it recorded a white-throated bee-eater much further to the north than usually.

This video says about itself:

White throated Bee eater, Gleb Jdiane, Morocco, Dec 2013. Noëlle & Hervé Jacob.

4 Jan 2014

Video footage of the first White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) for the Western Palearctic.

The bird was seen at Gleb Jdiane, a few kilometres south-east of Dakhla on the Aousserd road, Oued Dahab, southern Morocco on 5 and 6 December 2013 by Noëlle and Hervé Jacob.

From Birdwatch magazine in Britain:

Birders score Western Palearctic first

Posted on: 04 Jan 2014

Two French birders managed to video an exotic regional first while on a birding trip to the hot-spot of Gleb Jdiane, Western Sahara, last month.

Noëlle and Hervé Jacob were on a trip to the disputed desert territory – jointly administered by Morocco and Mauretania – and on the morning of 5 December were waiting for sandgrouse to appear at a well-known waterhole at Gleb Djiane, about 14.5 miles along the Aousserd road.

They said: “We saw a White-throated Bee-eater perched on a tamarisk, that was observable for at least 10 minutes until a Southern Grey Shrike chased it away. Sadly, we were unable to take photos, because we didn’t realise that this bird was not supposed to be there.

“The following morning we went back having missed the sandgrouse, probably partly because it had rained over the previous days and there were several other waterholes in the desert. Fortunately, the bee-eater was still there, but we could not get the car we were using as a hide any closer, so we were only able to shoot the poor video footage.

“The bird will be the first for both Morocco and the Western Palearctic, though the area is legendary for producing many regionally hard-to-get species such as Sudan Golden Sparrow, Cricket Warbler and Dunn’s Lark.

White-throated Bee-eater is a seasonally nomadic species which wanders the most at the beginning and end of the rainy season in the Sahel, and it is likely that due to the unseasonal rains this individual ranged further than most. Anecdotal reports suggest that the rains are particularly late this year, and this bee-eater species would usually be on the savannah to the south of the arid regions by now.

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