Thursday, March 15, 2012

European Bee-Eater - Little Rainbow Bird


Breeding primarily in Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, the European bee-eater is a colorful, thin bird. It has yellow and brown upper parts, with a black beak, blue or green belly and green wings. European bee-eaters commonly grow to between 10.6 and 11.4 inches (27 and 29 centimeters), although this length includes their elongated tail feathers, meaning its actual body isn't as long.

pair chirp

European bee-eaters obviously feed on bees (eating around 250 on a daily basis), but also hunt wasps, hornets, butterflies, lizards, and frogs. When dealing with an insect capable of stinging them, the bee-eaters smash the insect against a hard surface to remove the stinger, thus insuring a safe meal.


The European bee-eater is a migratory bird, so although most of its breeding is done in the aforementioned regions, it can be found in tropical Africa, India, and Sri Lanka during the winter months. They nest in colonies, usually in sandy banks near the shores of rivers and make long tunnels to lay their eggs in. Both females and males take care of the eggs over the course of the 3 week incubation period. It has been noted that not only the parents of the young birds feed them but also occasionally older brothers or sisters of the young will bring food to the nest. This species is also known for its pleasant call.


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