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GALLERIES > BIRDS > PASSEROIDEA > MEROPIDAE > NORTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATER [Merops nubicus]


Northern Carmine Bee-eater Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. Alternative common names include the Carmine Bee-eater or the Nubian Bee-eater.

Distribution

Its range includes most of the northern Subsaharan regions of Africa.

Description

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird, predominantly carmine in colour, except for a greenish blue head and throat and distinctive black mask. This species has red eyes, a black, pointed, decurved beak, and elongated central tail feathers.

The sexes are similar in appearance, and the juveniles can be distinguished from adults by their lack the elongated central tail feathers and the pinkish brown colouration of their mantle, chest to belly, and flanks.

Behaviour

Breeding

They nest in large colonies in cliffs, usually near river banks, where they use there bills to dig long horizontal nesting tunnels, often eight feet or more in length. Three to five eggs are laid per clutch.

Feeding

Their diet is made up primarily of bees and other flying insects, such as grasshoppers and locusts. The main hunting strategy of bee-eater is to keep watch for flying insects from a perch, and then snatch them out of the air using their beaks, before returning to the perch.

Call

The call is a deep, throaty "tunk" in flight; a series of "rik" notes when perched.

Links
  • Northern Carmine Bee-eater in Zoo Basel/Switzerland (dt.) hear it calling
  • http://zipcodezoo.com/Animals/M/Merops_nubicus.asp
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