The animal on the cover of RESTful Java with JAX-RS 2.0, Second Edition is an Australian bee-eater (Merops ornatus). It is commonly referred to as a rainbow bee-eater because of the vibrant colored feathers that adorn its body. Its bronze crown and nape, blue rump, and green and bronze wings make it easily distinguishable. Its red eye sits inside of a black stripe, outlined in blue, that extends from its bill to its ears. Females and males look alike and are only differentiated by the female’s shorter and thicker tail streamers.
Distributed throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea, and eastern Indonesia, the Australian bee-eater usually lives in cleared areas and often uses quarries or mines to build its nesting tunnels. Of course, tunnels in such places are subject to destruction as a result of human activity. Other threats to the bee-eater’s survival include foxes and wild dogs that dig up its nesting tunnels.
It is believed that Australian bee-eaters are monogamous. The female builds the nesting tunnels, while her male partner catches food for both of them. To dig the tunnel, the female balances on her wings and feet, using her bill to dig and her feet to move loose soil backward. On average, she can dig about three inches per day.
Although the nesting tunnels are very narrow, bee-eaters have been known to share tunnels with other bee-eaters and sometimes even other bird species. The female can lay as many as seven eggs at a time. Both parents are responsible for incubating ...