Blue-tailed Bee Eater

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Bee Eater Blue Tailed

The Blue-tailed Bee Eater is one of the beautiful birds to encounter at local paddy fields, and on 17 November 2023, I was at Sungai Burung in Penang and managed to photograph this bird.

Penang Island is not known for birding as the popular parts are on the mainland, but when you have limited time, you use whatever you have, so my journey was for both work and birding here.

Blue-tailed Bee Eater

The Blue-tailed Bee Eater (Merops philippinus) is quite a common bird found in open habitats close to water; hence, seeing them in paddy fields is a common sight. My encounter for these photos was while I was birdwatching at Sungai Burung on Penang Island.

For visiting birders in Malaysia from September to March, just head to coastal areas or paddy fields; chances are you may see the Blue-tailed Bee Eater. And often, they are perched on the electrical wires around the paddy fields or on stand-alone sticks.

These migratory birds are also winter visitors in several parts of Malaysia; therefore, they are not that hard to see. Sometimes, I even see them around my house in the Klang Valley, usually in small flocks of four to five, perched on old television antennas.

To learn more about this colourful bird, Wikipedia has some good information about the Blue-tailed Bee Eater or even on eBird. There is a lot of info available on this bird.

Photos of Blue-tailed Bee Eater

Below are some random photos of the Bee Eater taken from quite a close distance of about five metres. I was really surprised that it did not fly away even when I slowly moved in closer. It looked quite focused on either food or looking for its mate.

Bee Eater Penang Bird Watching
Another shot of the Bee-eater looking around.
Birdwatching at Sungai Burung Penang
The Blue-tailed Bee Eater at Sungai Burung, Penang.
Penang Blue-tailed Bee Eater
The bird perched while I was close to it.


The bird photographs here were taken using a Canon R7 paired with an RF100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L  lens and handheld. I’m not too focused on getting the best shot, as most of my bird photography is for identifying purposes. Check out the other Birds of Malaysia photo section on Birdwatching Asia.

To see the Blue-tailed Bee Eater, look out for them around watery habitats, namely paddy fields, coastal areas, ponds and lakes or even housing areas. Because they are migratory, the best time to post them is from September to March.

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Bird Watching Asia is a self-funded project to promote bird watching in Malaysia and around Asia.

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