2013 Bonanza Bird #26: European Bee-eater

There are just a few more days to go in our Bonanza! On Wednesday we will reveal our 500th bird, but today we introduce #26 in the Bonanza and #495 overall - the European Bee-eater.

Birdorable European Bee-eater

The European Bee-eater is an extremely colorful species of bird that breeds across much of Europe. These striking feathered jewels are migratory and most spend the winter across the southern half of Africa. There are 26 species of bee-eater in the world. This family is appropriately named - they are known to eat a lot of bees!

Guêpiers d'Europe
European Bee-eater by Sandra (CC BY 2.0)

Bees have stingers and venom, so how do bee-eaters safely consume them? After a bee (or wasp or other stinging insect) is captured, the bird beats the insect on a hard surface. This act both removes the stinger and extracts most of the venom. Once this is complete, the insect is consumed. European Bee-eaters eat other insect too, but only flying ones. Prey is always captured on the wing -- perched insects are simply ignored!

european bee eater

Tomorrow's new species is a bird of prey from Africa that, like today's bee-eater, is named in part for what it likes to eat.



Gustavo Carvalho on July 26, 2013 at 9:40 PM wrote:
African Fish Eagle?
ILOVEBIRDS! on August 5, 2013 at 5:34 AM wrote:
So colorful :)
Jays and Kestrels on September 10, 2013 at 7:39 PM wrote:
yeah I wish i had them where i live XD
Louise Warner on February 7, 2017 at 4:06 PM wrote:
african fish eagle?becasuse of Its shape?the birds eat mainly fish but will also eat the occasional baby flamingo.thay are so powerful.with a wingspn of 8 feet.
Harpy Eagle on July 4, 2017 at 10:46 PM wrote:
Fish eagle or snail kite.
Spurwing Plover on April 21, 2020 at 5:07 AM wrote:
Spurwing Plover on July 7, 2021 at 2:50 AM wrote:
Bee Eaters with rub the bee against a branch to get rid of the venom they play it smart they also smack the bee on a branch to stun it before they eat

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