Bee-eater: Everything you need to know about these birds

The bee-eater , a beautiful bird and very characteristic for its multiple colors in its plumage, without a doubt it is a very beautiful bird full of life and gives an extraordinary colorful to the places where it lives, it is a bird called European bee-eater, because it is found in almost all Europe and part of Africa and Asia.

It shares different skills, they are very important birds for the cultural heritage especially that of Europe, because this continent contains different species of birds that make it have a beautiful fauna, full of these beautiful birds as well as other birds as beautiful as the bee-eater.

The bee-eater belongs to the meropid family, in the specific order of the caraciformes, is abundant in its fauna and has beautiful colors, these beautiful colors are its main characteristic because these birds resemble other birds by their body what makes them different are their beautiful plumages.

The green, blue and cinnamon colors are its main colors are very important when observing these birds, because there are other species that may have very similar colors and can be confused with the bee-eater, but later in some sections I will explain the characteristics of the bee-eater, a little more detailed to not confuse this beautiful bird with any other.

Here are the characteristics of the bee-eater, a very beautiful and different bird because of its song, size and color.

Characteristics

The bee-eater is an extremely interesting bird and not only for its colors but for other reasons that are of utmost importance to name so that you can discover new things about this beautiful bird, full of beauty, the bee-eater belongs to the family of the Meropidae or Meropid and is unique in its species.

The measurements of these birds are not very different from the other birds of its genus, the average measurements of the bee-eater are 27 to 29 cm in length and the size of its average wingspan is 44 to 49 cm, this size can vary in a few centimeters or millimeters, although the normal size is the one mentioned before, as I say can vary from one bird to another but it is not much.

The scientific name of the bee-eater is Merops Apiaster.

As mentioned in previous paragraphs the color of this bird is of great importance and is undoubtedly the most characteristic of this species the dorsal parts are reddish, but this reddish is darker and seems intense cinnamon color is located between the stripes of his head.

The throat of the bee-eater is yellow although this color is almost indistinguishable but it is contained in its plumage, but this color is delimited by black lines that surround part of its eyes.

The iris of their small and round eyes is red, their eyes have an enormous capacity of vision, because they have a great vision they are able to perceive their surroundings they have great senses especially their sight is ideal for hunting their food.

In the case of the males they have a more intense color, very bright and dark, while in the case of the females they have more greenish tonalities, the one that has less greenish color in its feathers can be distinguished as male, of the herd or of the species.

In the case of the young they have a different color, since at birth the color of their plumage is different and at the same time their feathers are very weak and as they grow they adopt their color, at the beginning the color is more opaque, because during their youth they remain with a more opaque greenish color, After they reach sexual maturity, they adapt the tone of their color depending on the sex of the bee-eater, another of the shades that is different from these birds is the color of the iris of these birds at the beginning is brown, but later it will change, and will have an intense reddish color, this will happen in both cases whether it is female or male.

The song of these birds is very peculiar and in the breeding season is a little more abundant, because they sing more often and brighten the atmosphere their song is something like criiipp criiipp criiipp piii piiii, it is very nice and happy in the mornings the places where they live.

The bee-eater’s beak is a strong and elongated beak, black in color and is ideal for hunting bees. It is of great importance for this bird to have its beak always in the air looking for food, it works perfectly.

These birds feed on insects, the preferred one for them is the bee, it is ideal for them but not for beekeepers who sometimes have to resort to regrettable events to prevent the loss of their bees, it is a very delicious food for them but not so good for other aspects of the life of the bee-eater.

This bird has small brown legs and can be confused with a deep black color, the most important thing about their legs is that they are very helpful, it gives them a better balance at the time of flight.

Their legs help them to support themselves when they stand on the branches of the trees, they are very efficient, the bee-eater is a bird with large wings, these are greenish and elongated, they can be distinguished in flight by their beautiful wings, which when in flight they move up and down, they have brown and green colors.

The head of this bird is small and rounded, cinnamon-colored and with a large beak, the color of its head, neck and back is reddish brown, in the case of both sexes, both male and female.

They usually nest in the hollows of the sandy banks of different constructions or in abandoned spaces, they raise their chicks between them and are monogamous species, they only mate with one female.

As you can see these birds are very beautiful, its curved beak, its small legs, its slender and colorful wings, its small body make this bird a bird with many qualities, which must be taken into account in any aspect to determine this species, its preservation, and care are a fundamental part to ensure that they remain in their habitats constantly and do not lack in the fauna of their countries of origin or where they are.

Reproduction

The reproduction of these birds is of utmost importance, both for their species and for the fauna of their habitats. It is of great importance that during the breeding season they come together to mate and lay eggs.

The breeding season begins in April and May, when they gather to court, search for their nest, and mate.

But these birds must first look for their nest, for the safety of themselves and their next babies.

Courtship and mating

The breeding season is not easy for the males of these species, as well as other species of animals, at the beginning females and males get together to look for a mate, if they already have a mate they simply unite, but the male must reconquer the female is not an easy task, since the female must feel unique and secure.

Most of these birds gather in flocks or colonies to feel more secure, when the male manages to conquer the female they prepare for mating, because the male flies around the female and gets food, the female must receive it to accept the male so they are creating a bond until it is time to mate.

They move their wings from side to side, and stay together until the eggs are laid, they are very good parents and both are responsible for finding what is necessary for their offspring, when these birds mate immediately create their nests, and begin to look for food for them, they must be very fed, because after the chicks are born they must look for more food but they will have to share it.

Nest

But these birds gather in the breeding season to start looking for their nests, these nests are a little out of the ordinary to what you are used to observe in birds or birds, while most create their nests in trees with some feathers and straw or other objects of nature, these birds are different, as they create their nests in holes or holes in the banks.

But these nests are not very neat, most of them are of small sizes where the only ones that can be are the birds plus the chicks, before they mate these must have the nest already ready, to be sure at the time that the female lays the eggs.

The spaces are so small that they can become extremely sloppy spaces, when I mean sloppy is that the birds are born there in those holes, and as they are so small they can catch bad smells, it is understood that when one of the chicks fails to survive due to lack of food, when they die they stay in the nest, while the others continue to live in the same nest.

This fact is a little unpleasant, it is at the same time curious because it does not affect the other chicks, when the parents arrive to give them food, they can only introduce their bodies in one way but they can not turn around, having an idea of how small it is, it does not have much ventilation, but these birds are raised in these spaces, not very conventional but they are the best for them.

It is important to note that these birds create the holes with their beaks, and the length of these spaces is approximately 75 cm, there is a small disadvantage and that is that by using their beaks and legs for construction, they gradually wear out their parts, sometimes they can reuse their nests in the following seasons to not suffer so much damage to their beaks in particular.

Eggs

The eggs of these birds are of a small size, their shape is spherical and their color is white, they are not very different from the eggs of other species. When the female lays the eggs, which are 5 to 7 eggs, she incubates them for 22 to 25 days.

It is very important to know that the female is in charge of incubating the eggs while they hatch, while the father only visits the female from time to time, remembering that the nests are very small and it is impossible for the two to be together.

When the eggs hatch, both parents are in charge of feeding them, at the beginning the parents are in charge of regurgitating the food to feed them.

The mother and father leave the chicks alone, not for long to go out to look for food, an advantage of the nest of these birds is the very fact of going out and leaving their young alone, because being alone is less likely by the small size of their nests that a predator comes and tear them one of their chicks.

As these birds grow, their plumage becomes greenish in color, some with shiny feathers and others with duller feathers, while their sex can be distinguished.

The food of these birds is not easy, because they must feed all the chicks, to keep them all alive, making it clear that in most of the offspring, usually die the last to hatch for lack of food, as parents prefer that the first chicks to hatch eat first because they know that has more chance of staying alive, it is for this reason that if a member of the chicks die, they will not suffer and less will seem strange.

Although the animal world is so strange, on the one hand it is necessary for them to act in this way because they will only lose one and the others will continue to live, as I had already mentioned food is very important, because these birds feed their chicks with bait and need to collect between 15 to 20 for each of the chicks, as well as food for them to get strength and look for food.

Undoubtedly, the bee-eater is a good father and a good mother, these birds teach their chicks to fly, which those first flights are given between 25 and 30 days after birth, at first they give their first flights with the help of their parents, but then begin to do it by pure instinct of their nature, to begin to fly, the baby bee-eaters leave their nests to begin to share with other birds.

When these birds are a little older, it is a little more difficult for the parents to find food for them because they are big eaters, and they have to hunt 100 or more times for their chicks to be well and full.

But after they are younger and can fly well, these chicks must board a long flight with their parents, heading to tropical Africa, because the season is changing and they must take shelter.

It is worth noting that the chicks are not so small, since it could be said that they are close to their sexual maturity, which, by the way, after they reach it, these birds separate from their parents and undertake separate journeys.

The bee-eaters, have a good maternal side, they take care of them since they are in the egg, and take care of all aspects, feed them, raise them, and teach them among other things how to fly, hunt and survive in the animal world.

Feeding

The feeding of bee-eaters, is of utmost importance as for any other living species, these birds feed especially on bees, curious but due to this fact could be called its name, bees are their favorite food, among other species such as insects, butterflies and other different species.

But it is very important to take into account the visual capacity of the bee-eater, although bees like other flying insects are fast, the sight of this bird is also fast, because it is able to perceive a bee 20 meters away, it stays calm and just waits for the bee to approach to capture it and eat it alive.

The bee-eater is a very interesting bird, because it does not need to be in the air to hunt its food, it only waits very carefully for its prey to approach it, almost motionless, and then it just leaps and swoops down.

Of course, this one does not wait for its food to arrive, on the contrary, it looks for it among its habitats in the dumps, near the ground, on the ground, among the trees, it is always looking for food, in the breeding season it becomes the best hunter, because it must look for food for its offspring and compete with other bee-eaters.

The bumblebee, butterflies, wasps, dragonflies, horseflies and other species are the food of the bee-eater, it is a bird or an insectivorous species, it loves to eat and part of its life is dedicated to foraging.

The bee-eater enjoys a rich delicacy, and if it does not get bees, it looks for other options to feed, although it is clear that its main food is the bee, they would not change them, but neither would they stop eating if they found them.

Distribution and habitat

The bee-eater, is a traveling bird and is found in different parts of the planet earth, especially the most dominant are Europe and Asia, you can also get in Africa, this cute and beautiful bird loves to travel and is found in different faunas of the planet earth, the places where they live should be wide and semi-open.

Bee-eater in family

They can be found in central Europe, it is very common to find them in these open faunas and in times of spring or autumn.

For the months of May and August this bird is found in Finland, as well as in their other places where they live in wide semi-desert places, because they love to be alone among their set of species.

It is important to note that this species was believed to be a single, although through studies and observations, it was found that there are two subspecies, the first is the Persicus which are found between the valleys of the Nile, and the extreme south of Turkey, as well as in India and Lake Baljash.

The other species of bee-eater, the Chysocercus, is found in the Sahara, Algeria, Morocco, northern Sweden, Finland, Italy, Greece, Malta and France.

It is found in Spain mainly in the Canary Islands Tenerife, in Zaragoza and Barcelona.

The bee-eater is a bird of wide extensions, mainly between the warm plains, with abundant vegetation, bushes, trees, is a species that can reach 1,500 meters above sea level, are very abundant in the Iberian Peninsula for the month of March, but this one can be confused with the Martin Pescador, or the Magpie for its colors and characteristics.

Migratory movements

The bee-eater, is a bird that travels a lot, because of the environmental conditions or rather because of the climatic changes they are forced to migrate, in winter they travel to the African continent on the other side of the equatorial line, they continue traveling until they reach the Cape of Good Hope, they spend between April and May traveling while the winter passes.

They are birds of great flights, and never travel alone they are always accompanied between them, when September arrives their trip ends and they begin to return to their habitats of origin, already for the return to culminated the winter.

The bee-eaters are always together and between trips must make stops in certain places to consume food and have strength to continue flying, it should be noted that these small birds have large wings.

Threatened bee-eater and conservation

The bee-eater is a bird, which is in conservation, can vary depending on the habitat where it is found, although in the National Catalogue of endangered species is in a “special interest” and is that in most places you can see the changes and transformations, from fields to cities, every day you can get more urbanization, as the loss of large colonies, other factors that are caused by man and his destruction of the environment.

The bee-eater is the main consumer of bees, this fact is unfortunate for beekeepers who are forced to use chemicals against the bee-eater to gradually kill this species to protect their bees.

Undoubtedly this is a very unfortunate fact, because neither the bees nor the bee-eater are to blame, they are very beautiful birds, and it is regrettable the loss of them for lack of security plans to prevent their extinction.

Although bee-eaters belong to the three continents mentioned above, the largest population is found in Europe, and their main means of survival is vegetation, nature and far from human disasters.

Before I go I leave you this last video, a documentary of the bee-eater.