Chestnut Headed Bee Eater or Merops leschenaultia
In Kerala, the small southern Indian state, there are about 500 types of birds. Of these, 16 are endemic to the state and all of them can be spotted in the forests of the Western Ghats.
Chestnut Headed Bee Eater (Merops leschenaultia) is more often found in the forested areas and highlands. It belongs to the Bee Eater family called Meropidae. This richly coloured, slender bird is 18- 20 centimetres long.
The bird is predominantly green in colour, with blue on the rump and lower belly. Its face and throat are yellow with a black eye strip and the crown and nape are rich chestnut. Both sexes are alike in form.
As the name suggests, the birds mainly feed on bees. They can be spotted sitting on well-exposed branches or making aerial sallies to catch flying insects and dragonflies.
The scientific name of the bird commemorates the French botanist Jean Baptiste Leschenault de la Tour.
Chestnut Bee Eaters are mostly found in Asian countries like India and Indonesia.