Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus)
The genus is basal and forms a sister group to the remaining members of the bee-eater family.
Like other bee-eaters, Nyctyornis species are colourful birds with long tails, long downturned bills and pointed wings. They are large bee-eaters (blue-bearded is the largest of all bee-eaters), predominantly green, with a face colour as indicated by the species' name. This colour extends on to the slightly hanging throat feathers to form the "beard".
Like other bee-eaters, they predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air, but they have a quite different strategy. They hunt alone or in pairs, rather than in flocks, and sit motionless for long periods before pursuing their prey. Blue-bearded will also clamber in foliage for insects, and bees are sometimes attracted by the bright blue beard of a perched bird, presumably mistaking it for a flower.
Their size and more rounded wings gives Nyctyornis species a heavier flapping flight less graceful than that of the Merops genus
Like other bee-eaters, they nest in burrows tunneled into the side of sandy banks, but do not form colonies.
Red-bearded Bee-eater (Temminck, 1824) (Nyctyornis amictus) Blue-bearded Bee-eater (Jardine & Selby, 1830) (Nyctyornis athertoni)