European Bee-eater in flight
Régional Park of Camargue
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Scientific name : Merops apiaster
Family : Meropides
Leng. 27 to 30 cm, Wing. 44 to 49 cm
The European Bee-eater is a skilled hunter, who captures insects in flight, essentially wasps, bees, hornets, as well as dragonflies in the Camargue. The size of a thrush drains, the European Bee-eater has characteristic rolled cries allowing to recognize it even when it is hardly discernible in the sky. Its metallic colors are composed of turquoise blue-green belly, chest and lower wings, brown-red on the back, the cap and the upper wings, dark green tail, black beak slightly curved and as if prolonged by a feather also black, red iris in a black eye, yellow bordered with black for the bib.The European Bee-eater is a gregarious species both in hunting and during migration.
He is fond of the sandy banks of streams, the screeping cliffs, old sand pits, gravel pits, where he digs burrows. He often lives in colonies and likes to perch with his peers on the projecting branches, electrical wires and poles.
The European Bee-eater feeds on Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, hornets, bumblebees) which are the main prey; but also cicadas, dragonflies, butterflies, bugs, Orthoptera (locusts, grasshoppers), beetles (cockroaches ...), Diptera (flies ...).
The European Bee-eater has characteristic rolled-up cries that can be recognized even when it is barely discernible in the sky.
It nests usually in colonies in galleries up to 2 meters deep, it likes sandy banks of rivers. The European bee-eater is a gregarious species that hunt both during migration. It nests from May to August, the female lays 5 to 7 eggs, both partners share the incubation, which lasts three weeks about, and livestock that lasts three to four weeks in the nest.
The European Bee-eater has a complete protection on French territory since the Ministerial Decree of 17 April 1981 relating to protected birds on throughout the country.