Malaysian Birds - Chestnut-headed Bee-eater


Size & diagnostic markings:- 22 Cm. This is a bird of the open country, but seen only in northern peninsula during the northern winter months. In Malaysia the Chestnut-headed Bee-eater is the smallest among the 3 Bee-eaters present at 22 cm. The upper part  of the bird is dark green while the under part is pale green to blue. This time the crown on this species is dull chestnut and as usual runs all the way to the back. The throat is pale yellow with the thin chestnut border at the lower edge of throat. This species do not have streamers for its tail feathers.

Distribution :-  The habitats of the birds start from the north eastern part of India, down the Indian continent to Sri Langka, Andaman Islands to Sumatra, java and Bali.

 Habitats & preferences:- This is also a lowland open country bird preferring forest edge and mangrove forest.Chestnut-headed

Very little information is available about this species. The bird is native to the foothills of Himalayas, then a narrow corridor to South-western China. Through the Andaman Island into Northern Peninsula and into the Indonesian Islands Sumatra, Java and lastly Bali. It was observed that in India, this is  bird of the highland forest than also prefers places near waterways.

In Malaysia, the bird is found in lowlands open country. In Penang, huge colony near Air Itam which is an area of low hills. In Perak, the open areas of Padi fields and ex-tin mines land. Perched in middle or lower storey. In the case of Bee-eaters, more often than not along electrical wires. Though the bird was seen as far south as Johore, but recent sightings showed that it was sighted around Ipoh and not further than that.

As usual, the bird nest in tunnels bored out in the soils of vertical slopes and the community look after the young. Then I read that the bird lay its eggs the period February to May. In the past few years the birds would leave Penang by early February. In 2008, the whole colony of birds were still around in early April. Where did the bird comes from or leaving for which destination to do their breeding? Someone did mention that the bird breeds in India & Asia! Nowhere was mentioned that bird is migratory.

Bee-eater's picture No. 1

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 2

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 3

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 4

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 5

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 6

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 7

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 8

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 9

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 10

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 11

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater's picture No. 12

I have a huge collection of pictures for this spcies of Chestnut-headed Bee-eater. That is because I stunmled upon a permenant nesting site. In this location there must be over 100 individuals. So I was never lack of scene or biird activities. Unfortuantely it is history, in 2020, I visited the site again, All the nstings holes were cleared and the birds had also left the place for good.



Return to "Bee-eater page" to see more birds pictures OR back to Malaysian Birds page to explore for more