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Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Merops persicus (Pallas, 1773)

Зеленая щурка | Жасыл аражегіш

Kyzylkum desert, South Kazakhstan Region
© Vassiliy Fedorenko


Breeds in southern Kazakhstan, in north up to Novaya Kazanka, Raygorodok villages and Srym natural boundary on Uil river, north of Aral Sea at Akespe station, Betpak-Dala at Chulak-Espe and Ile mouth. 3 or 4 pairs bred on western shore of Alakol lake in 1993. Vagrants recorded near Orenburg, in Naurzum Reserve (flock of 12 birds recorded 14 August 2002), in lower reaches of Turgay river (5 July 1975) and in Kurgaldzhino (20 June – 2 July 1970).


Common, in places rare breeding migrant. Inhabits the flat and hilly sand deserts, often near lakes, river valleys, irrigation channels. Arrives in mid-April – early May by flocks up to 20-50 birds, migration finishes at early June. Breeds in colonies of a few to six hundreds pairs (in Kyzylkum desert). Nesting hole depth of 130-290 cm excavated by both partners for 6-10 days in clay precipices or in consistent sand. The strong winds fill the hole entrance with sand, and birds regularly clean it. Clutch of 4-9 eggs is laid in mid-May – early June. Female incubates only, male feeds her and juveniles which fledge from mid-July. Autumn migration begins in August, most birds fly off in first half of September, latest flocks recorded on Chokpak Pass 12 October 2000 and 20 October 1973.


Merops persicus persicus (Pallas, 1773)


Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. “Птицы Казахстана” под редакцией И.А.Долгушина, том 3, Алма-Ата, 1970. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.



Merops persicus persicus
(Pallas, 1773)

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