Kenya Birds

Blue-headed Bee-eater


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Blue-headed Bee-eater

Photograph(s) Copyright ©P&H HARRIS

Merops muelleri

Other Names

    French GuÍpier ŗ tÍte bleue   German Zwergspint   Spanish Abejaruco Cabeciazul   Swedish BlŚhuvad bištare     Italian Gruccione testablu

World: Afrotropical species found in lowland forests in W and C Africa. Range extends from Guinea to Cameroon in the W then through the Congo Basin to E Zaire. An isolated population also occurs in W Kenya.

Kenya: Found in the Kakamega and Nandi Forests of the W.

This is a rainforest bird which is generally solitary. It generally perches high in the forest canopy alongside forest tracks and clearings. It hawks small butterflies, honeybees and hymenoptera in fast sweeping sorties which almost inevitably end with the bird returning to its original perch. Blue-headed Bee-eaters in Kenya are probably a relic population cut off from the western populations due to shrinking of the Equatorial rain forest belt. Their range has contracted over the years and the birds are now under threat in their last remaining habitats. This is mostly from human impact, deforestation and cattle grazing.

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