• Issue: June 1963
  • Designer: M. Karoly
  • Plate no.: 88 - 90
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Blue-Checked Bee-Eater (Merops Superciliosus)

This fine bird is a passing migrant and also a resident of Israel, nesting in the hotter parts of the country, mainly in the Jordan valley, from the Dead Sea up to the Hulah valley, but oddly enough, also near Acre. It is a sociable bird, mostly flying in flocks, swooping, turning, and whistling cheerfully. It breeds in colonies, making its nest in galleries inside loamy banks. The hen sits on the first egg laid and then moves on to the next once that is hatched, so that the chicks emerge in stages, sometimes as much as a fortnight passing before the last chick leaves the nest. Though it feeds on bees now and then, the Blue-Checked Bee-Eater also devours many other insects, making it one of the useful birds of Israel, which deserves to be preserved - not only for its cheerfulness and beauty.

Palestine Graceful Warbler (Prinia Gracilis)

This tiny resident of Israel is endemic to the country, and is found everywhere except in the Negev. It is a shy, skulking bird, usually slipping through underbrush in its search for insects, rarely flying for a long stretch, and chirping very low. The Graceful Warbler would be almost invisible were it not for its exceptionally long tail which it twirls restlessly in a sideways or circular motion. Its nest is a hanging purse, placed so low in shrubs or plants that it is an easy prey for cats.

Sunbird (Cinyris Osea)

This, the smallest of Israel's birds, is endemic to the country, the only one of a large family embracing 135 species which lives outside the tropics. It first settled in Israel in the tropical region of the Jericho oasis. From there it migrated into the coastal plain when gardens and flowering shrubs were planted. Since 1942 it has nested on Mount Carmel, in Galilee, and in the Emek and Jordan valleys.

The female is an unobtrusive brown, entirely different from the splendid male. It sings beautifully, but very low. Its nest is a slatternly purse, with an entrance at the side. The Sunbird feeds on the nectar of flowers and on insects.

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Air Mail - Birds Of Israel (III)