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Birds with in-built antennas – Green & Blue - tailed Bee-eaters and Wire – tailed Swallows

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

Birds with in-built antennas

Green & Blue – tailed Bee - eaters and Wire – tailed Swallows

Green Bee - eater

· One day during morning walk at Kanpur Cantonment, we observed some birds flying around which were having antenna – like features projected from their body. Such built-in antennas made us curious and we followed these birds. Later on we recognized them as ‘Green Bee- eaters’ , ‘ Blue - tailed Bee-eater’ and ‘Wire-tailed Swallows’. Here these three types of birds are presented pictorially to highlight their special body features which are quite uncommon.

Salient features of :

1. Green Bee- eaters

· They have primarily green body & tail, long curved bills, elongated central tail features which resembles to antenna, blue & greenish throat with black lining, black stripe across eyes, golden-brown crown & nape and very short legs.

· They mainly feed on large flying insects and catch them on the wings, Their flight are swift and agile. They have perfect aerodynamic body.

· Its call is a throaty trill like tree – tree – tree…..

· Its scientific name is Merops orientalis’ and it belongs to ‘Meropidae’ family.

· Its Hindi name is ‘Hariyal’ or ‘Patringa’ (हरियल ,पतरिंगा ).

2. Blue – tailed Bee – eater

Blue - tailed Bee - eater

· Normally found in southern peninsular India and migrate to Northern parts during summer.

· Displays cheek, rump & tail in blue shade, forehead & crown in bronze- green, throat in chestnut & yellow colour. A black stripe across eyes. Other body parts are predominantly green shade.

· Its voice is like rolling ‘dirririp’.

· Its scientific name is ‘ Merops philippinus’ and it belongs to ‘Meropidae’ family.

· Its Hindi name is Bada patringa.

Blue - tailed Bee - eaters

3. Wire – tailed Swallows

Wire - tailed Swallow

· They have slender, streamlined body, long pointed wings and small bills. Wire-like tail-streamers are their distinctive features. The filament sometimes gets broken and then tail appears as square-ended.

· They have chestnut coloured fore-head & crown, brighter blue upperparts and shining white under parts.

· Its voice include twittering song, a double chirrik-weet, chit- chit and chichip chichip alarm call.

· They mainly feed on insects. They also drink water while hovering over water bodies.

· They make their nests with wet clay near water streams.

· Its scientific name is Hirundo smithii’ and it belongs to ‘Hirundinidae’ family.

· Its Hindi name is ‘Leishra’.

# Green & Blue – tailed Bee-eaters and Wire –tailed Swallows are gifted with unique antennas as their body part. It helps them to keep balance during flight and also in search of food. These features are almost unique to them.

Enjoy the beautiful and rich colours and special antennas of these agile birds.


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