Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus).
Taken with Canon 20D and a 75-300mm Canon lens.
This photo was taken as the bird left its nesting chamber in the middle of a fire-trail through the mallee on a nature reserve in western NSW. A few days later the nest was flooded by a severe summer storm and the pair had to start all over again.
The species is migratory and widely distributed throughout Australia and eastern Indonesia & Papua New Guinea. It is a vagrant visitor further north including Palau, Micronesia, & Japan. The majority of the global population breeds in Australia. In Australia it is distributed across much of the mainland.
It occurs in open woodlands and shrublands, including mallee, and open forests. It also occurs in grasslands, floodplain or wetland vegetation and in mangroves.
The nest is located in an enlarged chamber at the end of long burrow that is excavated in flat or sloping ground, in the banks of rivers, creeks or dams, in roadside cuttings, or in cliff-faces.
It mainly feeds on insects but occasionally other animals including earthworms, spiders & tadpoles. It captures most of its prey in flight.
The only actual, identified threat is the Cane Toad. Cane Toads feed on eggs and nestlings, and occupy nest burrows.
(Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2009)).
576 views, 29/6/2010
Rainbow fence sitter