Chestnut-headed Bee-eater – conflict (social behaviour)

“I was drawn to a pair of Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) who were calling loudly and seem agitated (above). They then progressed to have an altercation (conflict) with each other. I observed 3 consecutive episodes. What was odd was that each time they would amicably return to the same perch. They appeared to be family or mates but the conflict in mid air (below) was hard to explain.

“There were a few other Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters around but they did not pose any interference. It was either a domestic squabble, or perhaps, as I have seen before a young adult still demanding a feed from a parent resulting in a conflict.

They ended when one of them found a juicy butterfly (not able to ID butterfly) and took it to a perch to branch-swipe repeatedly, dislodge the wings and then consume (above, below).

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
5th January 2014

Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Entrance to forest reserve

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