Black beeeater

Merops gularis

TAXONOMY

Merops gularis Shaw, 1798, Sierra Leone. Two subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Guêpier noir; German: Purpurspint; Spanish: Abejaruco Negro.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

8 in (20 cm); 0.85-1.0 oz (24-30 g). Particularly striking and distinctive plumage, with nearly entirely black head and black back with contrasting scarlet throat and azure-blue rump.

DISTRIBUTION

West Africa from Sierra Leone west through Central Africa to eastern Zaire.

HABITAT

Clearings and stream edges in rainforest, secondary forest, wooded farmland, and gallery forest, usually high above the ground.

BEHAVIOR

Sedentary or partial migrant. Appears to be some movement corresponding to wet and dry seasons.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET Usually forages high in the tree canopy.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Poorly known. Usually a solitary breeder; small colonies have been observed in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Breeding occurs from March to May.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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