entry smap 38 the tail

the beautifully colored chestnut-headed bee-eater
(Merops leschenaulti) is probably not your obvious choice of species to feature when the theme is the tail. however while the tail does seem quite normal when not in use, these elegant fine feathered friends utilize their tails surprisingly well to support themselves. here on a vertical slope, one is digging with its beak perhaps in search for insects here in our garden or perhaps exploring the possibility of tunneling to make a nest

here the tail again seems to be rather ordinary

but during flight the tail is very effectively wielded enabling it to make the acrobatic turns which are necessary to catch flying insects.

i hope you now appreciate these exquisite birds a little more than before. thanks for reading

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