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|Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)|
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 hornets, which are caught in the air by sallies from an open perch. While they will lively pursue any type of flying insect, honeybees predominate their diet. The world range of the bee-eaters is nearly congruent to the native world range of the four species of honeybees. Fry et al. (1992) says that "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 honeybees formed on average about one-third of the Hymenoptera." The areal dymanics of catching an insect in the air is referred to as sallying. 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 extracting most of the venom. Once an insect lands the bee-eater ignores it, even if in plain sight. Bee-eaters are just programmed to catch things on the wing.
Bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in tunnels in sandy banks; the eggs are white. They generally produce 2-9 eggs per clutch (depending on species). are widely distributed and common, nesting in burrows tunneled into the side of earth banks such as those which have collapsed on the edges of rivers. 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.
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Hello Angelo, lovely and wonderfull shot, very good focus, splendid colors and genial pose, good note too.... a great composition,
cheer and many thanks for shared
- [2007-08-24 14:46]
Hello Angelo, a superb shot of those beautiful birds. You witnessed something very interresting and you caught it weel. Shap, good exposure and great composition. Thanks,
- [2007-08-25 11:12]
What a nice composition of bird I never saw before,The image is sharp with nice colors.I also like the catch light in the eye.
Gran bel momento!
Ottima definizione dell'immagine.
(il cavo-esca ha colpito ancora:-))
Come il tuo solito foto ottima. Colto per di pił anche un momento molto bello!
Grazie e complimenti ancora, ciao, Emanuele