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Thursday, September 13, 2012

European Bee-eater - Gruccione - Uccelli nel nostro giardino



The European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), breeds in southern Europe and in parts of north Africa and western Asia. It is strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa, India and Sri Lanka. 
This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly-coloured, slender bird. It has brown and yellow upper parts, whilst the wings are green and the beak is black. It can reach a length of 27–29 cm (10.6–11.4 in), including the two elongated central tail feathers. Sexes are alike.
This is a bird which breeds in open country in warmer climates. Just as the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees,wasps and hornets which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. Before eating its meal, a European Bee-eater removes the sting by repeatedly hitting the insect on a hard surface. It eats some 250 bees daily. Lizards and frogs are also taken.
These bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks, preferably near river shores, usually at the beginning of May. They make a relatively long tunnel in which the 5 to 8, spherical white eggs are laid around the beginning of June. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs, which are brooded for about 3 weeks. These birds also feed and roost communally.
This year saw an increase in the number of Bee-eaters we had visit our garden, one day in August we counted twenty in the flock that spent an hour or so feeding in the vicinity of our house. There must have been lots of bees or wasps in the roof tiles, although we have never had a problem, maybe thanks to the Bee-eaters. It was fascinating to watch them swooping and diving for their prey, I was just disappointed that I was unable to catch any action shots, from time to time they perched for a rest and I was able to get the photos I am sharing here with you today.









The photos I took and some very distant shots but in flight, old ones from 2007, can be viewed in my Flickr.com album. European Bee-eater   Photos should enlarge if you click on them, if you wish to view here in a larger size.
All photos are my own taken in August 2012.
 Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection 

For further information and better photographs of the species in general visit   Wikipedia - Bee-eater   and for the type we have in our garden.   Wikipedia - European Bee-eater


41 comments:

  1. Hello Linda:
    We are somewhat ashamed to admit that we have never even heard of let alone caught sight of a Bee-eater. And, they are so beautifully marked, what a wonderful sight they must make in your garden, especially when they are in any significant number. Bees seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate in Britain these days, so we imagine that the Bee-eaters would not be welcome there.

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  2. Great Photos we used to have the Carmine Bee Eater in Zimbabwe which was spectacular to watch at its breeding grounds. Diane

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  3. They are so gorgeous! Almost every weekday I take my toddlers to feed the birds. They would love catching sight of beauties like these ;)

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  4. Wow! What a beautiful bird! You took some fabulous images of them too. I didn't realize there was a bird species that specialized in eating bees. One could say that they are as busy as bees (250 bees per day is an amazing statistic!).

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  5. Gorgeous Linda. That's your camera no doubt making it possible for these beautiful shots. Thanks for sharing them :-)

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  6. What beautiful bird. The close ups are excellent.

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  7. Oh! how I would love to see some bee-eaters, they are such exquisite birds. I remember seeing a programme about them once and how they nest in the sandy banks along the rivers.

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  8. Linda what a beautiful bird. I would love to see your bee-eater. Wonderful shots!

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  9. These are lovely. We have nothing like these in my corner of the US.

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  10. Way to keep an eye out and get these fantastic shots. We do a lot of bird watching out the window at my work but it's hard to get good shots through the window. These are fabulous! I love their black eye masks!
    Liz

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  11. Quite a noble bird! AS I have told you before, our neighborhood is controlled by the CROWS!

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  12. What a beautiful bird. The marking around the eyes reminds me of the Cedar Waxwing. You are lucky to have these striking birds near you!

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  13. Seeing that they eat bees (which we would be in trouble without), reading this is very distressinng. Wikipedia also claims that they eat butterflies! Also alarming to read that [honeybees can comprise a large part of the diet - as much as 89% of the overall diet.] I've never seen them in our area (perhaps because it is too cool), and hope never ever to see them at all.

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  14. Hello Linda, what great shots of the Bee-eater, what a pretty little bird he is, they would have competition here from Sparky our dog, he loves to catch bees and wasps, even though he gets sung in the mouth all th time...silly boy! Love, love, love your new header!
    Many thanks for your lovely welcome back, it's good to be back, but I don't regret taking time out. Much love to you, Linda x

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  15. Pretty. We have similar here in Oman but slightly different colouring - maybe as part of the migration.

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  16. What colorful, gorgeous birds. We do not have anything like them here in Alabama.

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  17. They're just a beautiful bird! I wish some of them would fly to Florida (wouldn't wish cool Oregon on them!)

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  18. These are wondeful shots of this beautiful bird! I have no patience for wildlife photography. I have one very fuzzy shot of a bee-eater from Africa. Still, I'm glad I have it. Amazing birds!

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  19. all of these remind me of the parrots, small green ones, that fly in flocks here. years ago several of them got loose from a bird place and now there are hundreds of them. these are really pretty birds.

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  20. Wow, what pretty birds!! Your photos are beautiful.

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  21. It's interesting to see cute birds.

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  22. Those are good lookin' birds. I love the coloring.

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  23. I have never heard of a Bee-eater bird but the photos are lovely.......

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  24. What an interesting and educational post, Lindy! Thank you!

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  25. Wow Lindy what an interesting bird! So nice to visit you in Italy this morning! Have a great weekend!

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  26. Lindy, Your pictures are awesome. That is a beautiful bird. It must be wonderful to see them much less get the great photos. Thank you so much for sharing.
    We need some gnat-eaters here. LOL,
    Love to you, Ginger

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  27. Such a fascinating and beautiful little bird – and terrific photos! I can say for certain we don't have these so I very much enjoyed seeing your images.

    Lovely week ahead to you!

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  28. Isn't it interesting the way different animals (and birds!) live in different parts of the world!

    My husband chuckled to see a Robin in a zoo when he visited America!!

    Sarahx

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  29. what gorgeous birds!
    how grand to know feathered friends that eat
    wasps and hornets and yellow jackets!
    thanks for introducing us:)
    -Jennifer

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  30. I am not a bird specialist at all, I only know the classical once, like a sparrow, a robin or magpies, but your pictures are just gorgeous ! I think it's far more difficult to take good bird pictures than cat pictures :) !

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  31. That is very interesting, they are a very handsome bird. I'm not aware of birds here in the USA that eat bees and wasps.

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  32. Olá, parabéns pelo blog!
    Se você puder visite este blog:
    http://morgannascimento.blogspot.com.br/
    Obrigado pela atenção

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  33. Amazing photos from this special bird. I like the colors and the slim form. Great capture !

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  34. Awww - what great shots. I love that last one - so adorable.

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  35. Great captures of these beautiful birds, Lindy!

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  36. Wonderful captures, Lindy - thanks for sharing your part of Italy with us. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend. (Thanks for dropping by my blog)

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  37. I’ve never seen Bee-eaters. What beautiful birds! Your photos are exquisite.

    Yoko

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  38. They're so pretty - it's hard to imagine them eating bees and wasps! Lovely shots.

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  39. I didn't know there was such a thing. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. I wish you lived closer. Andrea Bocelli will be in Texas in November and none of my friends appreciate good music as you and I do. I may just have to go on my own!
    Ann

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  40. Beautiful birds. It is so hard to imagine any creature who would eat a bee. Great photos.

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  41. What an interesting post. I have never heard of this species of bird, so very informative. They have lovely colouring, and seem quite large and attractive birds to me. I particularly like your last photo.

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