FANDOM


Bee-eaters
240pxpx|alt={{{image_alt}}}
White-fronted Bee-eater, (Merops bullockoides)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Meropidae
Genera

The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colorful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar.

Just as the expressive name reveals, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps, and other flying insects, which are caught in the air by sallies from an open perch. While they will pursue any type of flying insect, honey bees predominate in their diet. The world range of the bee-eaters is nearly identical to the native world range of the four most common species of honey bees. Fry et al. say "in 20 separate studies of the diet of 16 kinds of bee-eaters, Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) comprised from 20% to 96% of all insects eaten, and honey bees formed on average about one-third of the Hymenoptera".

Before eating its meal, a bee-eater removes the sting by repeatedly hitting the insect on a hard surface. During this process, pressure is applied to the insect thereby extracting most of the venom. Notably, the birds only catch prey that are on the wing and will ignore flying insects once they land.

Bee-eaters are gregarious. They form colonies by nesting in burrows tunneled into the side of sandy banks, such as those which have collapsed on the edges of rivers. Their eggs are white and they generally produce 2-9 eggs per clutch (depending on species), which are widely distributed and common. As they live in colonies, large numbers of these holes are often seen together, white streaks from their accumulated droppings accentuating the entrances to the nests. Most of the species in the family are monogamous, and have biparental care of the young.

The bee-eater family consists of two subfamilies - the bearded bee-eaters Nyctyornithinae (raised to family level as Nyctyornithidae by Charles Sibley in later versions of his computerised world list), and Meropinae, the typical bee-eaters.

Species list in taxonomic orderEdit

Family: Meropidae

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Wikipedia_small_logo_rounded.png This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.