European Bee-Eater

The European Bee-Eater (Merops apiaster) is a small passerine bird in the Meropidae family of bee-eaters. 

The European Bee-Eater has brown and yellow upper parts, green-grey wings, a yellow throat, and a bluish belly. It has a long, thin black mask around its orange-brown eyes, with a shiny blue line above its eye. It has a notched tail. Its beak is black. The male and female look similar, but the female tends to have greener feathers on the shoulders. 


European Bee-Eater

It can grow to 27-29 centimetres (11 inches) tall.

It is native to southern Europe, north Africa and western Asia. It migrates to warm locations in winter. 

The European Bee-Eater likes grassy locations and sandy banks near water.

It eats insects, such as bees, wasps, and hornets. It catches the insects in flight. Before eating a bee, the European Bee-Eater removes the stinger by hitting the insect on a hard surface, such as a branch or log. It can eat about 250 bees a day. 

Its nest is a long tunnel. The female lays 5-8 eggs. The male and the female sit on the eggs, which hatch after about 21 days. 

European Bee-Eater


[Location of photographs: Dushanbe, Tajikistan]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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