The Toss!

Winning The Toss: Blue-tailed Bee-eater pops a meal

The Toss!
A Blue-tailed Bee Eater, tossing an insect prey before swallowing it.

We humans toss pizza crusts, pancakes and — when we hate the food — we toss our plates out the window. When birds do that, they usually have a better reason than we do.

Birds like this Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) grab venomous insect prey like wasps and bees in mid-air by the mid-section of their bodies (with practised delicacy, so as to keep away the nasty sting) and alight on such comfortable perches as the one in the picture. Then they beat the living daylights out of the insect by thrashing it against the perch over and over. This helps eviscerate the sting and the attached venom gland, and might seem to our eyes much like a dhobi slamming dirty linen against a stone to dislodge the dirt (yes, it explains the missing buttons). Slamming done, the bird gets into the act a la Rajinikanth with the cigarette, flicking the insect up in the air and swallowing it on its way down.

Bon appetit!


One thought on “Winning The Toss: Blue-tailed Bee-eater pops a meal

  1. Every day there’s a new Mr Somasekharan I see… gud gud… keep posting d links on fb as this one so that I may follow widout missing out any… 🙂

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