I first noticed this beautiful bird sitting on the transmission wires passing over the wheat field. Due to green colour, these looked like small parrots. Then we found it in many places in our neighbourhood like over the water bodies and trees.
This bird is called Green Bee Eater with its scientific name as “Merops orientalis” is an exquisite little bird with bright emerald green plumage. The wings are largely green, sometimes tinted with gold or reddish-brown, and have a black trailing edge.
The bird is fairly gregarious and forages either alone or in small groups. From a perch on a fence, low bush, or sometimes even on cattle, the little green bee-eater takes rapid flight after an insect, seizing its prey and returning to the perch, where it strikes the insect to kill it before devouring it. As its name suggests, the little green bee-eater prefers to prey upon bees, but will also take other insects such as fruit flies and grasshoppers.
It exhibits a peculiar behaviour called predator avoidance which is not common in other bird species. If a predator is concentrating its attention on green bee eaters nest, it will not enter the nest until the predator has looked away. This remarkable behaviour demonstrates that the little green bee-eater aware of where the predator is looking, but also suggests it is aware of the predator’s mental state. This awareness, known as ‘theory of mind’, is typically only exhibited by humans and a few other primate species.
Most of the information is taken from Arkive website and I am thankful to them for this. We took many pictures of this exquisite bird.
Notice the reddish color in the neck of bird in the last picture.
Morni is a hill station about 55 kilometers away from Chandigarh. Morni in local language is referred to peahen. The name is derived from the name of girl of a local ruler. There were many small princely states all over Shiwalik hills. The rulers were mostly Rajputs many of whom owed allegiance to Mughals. Morni hills were ruled by Rajputs from Sirmaur which is near Nahan in Himachal Pradesh.The place is situated in Shiwalik hills and can be reached through a road from Panchkula. The map of the road is given below:
The road is serpentine because hilly area begins just after crossing the Panchkula and after a continuous climb for about 20 kilometers from Panchkula, the path begins to descend. I have gone up to point where this descent begins.
There are hills covered with wild shrubs and trees including teak. When you begin the journey towards Morni from Panchkula there are hills covered with thorny acacia trees. Hordes of monkeys roam along the road. All day they are there squatting on edges of road and climbing on the adjacent trees. People who came to visit Shiva temple near Berwala, gave them banana and other eatables. This causes the menace to normal visitor who is afraid to get down.
On the way, is Gauri Shankar temple which is seldom open. It seems more of a private property of some Guru who enjoy immense clout over politicians rather than a public place as the temples are generally opened to public. After about 8 kilometers there is small bridge on a seasonal branch of Ghaggar river which is dry in the summers. There is a place with dense trees and foliage along the river which is marked as a bird sanctuary. But you have to be very patience for sighting the birds.
There are few fields where farmers can be seen working. The area beyond Panchkula suddenly takes on an idyllic character. Hills along gorges seem like walls of brown mud completely devoid of greenery except the exposed roots of some trees at the top. In these walls, one can see parrots clinging on to the holes which they must have dug for raising their nests.
One can also come across, the men and women sitting in the cars stopped at different spots engaged in cavorting activities from the city giving slip to their legal partners. Groups of young boys and girls can be seen drinking and making merry. Due to the drunken driving in the hills many a times fatal accidents have been reported.
There are Langoors also hiding in the bushes and occasionally coming into open on the road or to cross the road. They seem to be shy of humans and avoid humans unlike the monkeys. There are many birds and trees which bear flowers and adorn the landscape.