Most beautiful small birds - Sykalo Eugen 2024

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)


  • Species name: European Bee-eater
  • Scientific name: Merops apiaster
  • Family: Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
  • Order: Coraciiformes (Rollers)
  • Subclass: Neornithes (Modern birds)
  • Class: Aves (Birds)


  • Size: Medium-sized bird, about 25-28 cm (9.8-11 in) long with a wingspan of 46-52 cm (18-20.5 in).
  • Body shape: Slender and graceful, with a long, slightly downcurved bill, long pointed wings, and a long, forked tail.
  • Plumage color:
    • Males (breeding season): Stunning contrast of bright turquoise breast and back, fiery orange throat and belly, and emerald-green wings. Black cap and mask extending from the bill to the eyes.
    • Females and non-breeding males: Duller than males, with a green wash on the throat and chest and less vivid wing colors.
  • Beak: Long, slender, and slightly downcurved, black in color, perfectly adapted for catching bees and wasps.
  • Legs: Short and dark gray.
  • Tail: Long, deeply forked, often fanned open during flight and displays.


  • Method of feeding: Acrobatic aerial predators, hawking insects (primarily bees and wasps) in mid-air. They perch on open branches or wires, then launch themselves into dazzling chases, returning to their perch to beat the stinger out of their prey before consuming it.
  • Reproduction: Dig burrows in sandy banks or cliffs, where they build simple nests. Lays 2-6 white eggs. Both parents care for the young.
  • Movement: Migratory, breeding in southern and central Europe and northern Africa and wintering in tropical Africa.
  • Communication: Loud, high-pitched chirps and whistles. Males sing and perform dazzling aerial displays to attract mates and defend territory.


  • Habitat: Open grasslands, woodlands, riverbanks, and cliffs with sandy areas for nesting.
  • Diet: Primarily bees and wasps, but also other insects like grasshoppers, flies, and beetles.
  • Hunting methods: Hawking insects in mid-air with agile acrobatic dives and chases.

Distribution: Breeds in southern and central Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. Winters in tropical Africa from Senegal to Mozambique.

European Bee-eater

The European Bee-eater, with its shimmering turquoise plumage, vibrant orange throat, and acrobatic aerial skills, is a dazzling jewel of the summer sky. But beneath its beauty lies a scientific marvel with a unique dietary preference and unexpected quirks. Get ready to be buzzed by these feathered facts:

Bee-Eaters, Bee-Lievers: True to their name, European Bee-eaters have a voracious appetite for bees and wasps. They can consume up to 250 per day, catching them mid-air with acrobatic dives and lightning-fast reflexes. Think of them as feathered fighter jets with a stinger fetish!

The Stingless Secret: Don't worry, Bee-eaters have a clever trick to avoid getting stung. They rub the captured insects against a hard surface, removing the stinger before enjoying their crunchy snack. It's like a feathered food prep routine with a bee-stinging twist!

Tunnel Vision Architects: Unlike many birds, Bee-eaters don't build nests in trees. Instead, they dig long tunnels into earth banks, creating cozy chambers up to 6 feet deep. This underground haven offers protection from predators and scorching sun, showcasing their engineering prowess. Talk about feathered miners with a sky-high commute!

Flash Mob Fashionistas: During courtship, male Bee-eaters put on a dazzling show. They perform elaborate aerial displays, flashing their vibrant plumage and performing synchronized dives, all to impress potential mates. Imagine them as feathered Cirque du Soleil performers with a bee-tastic soundtrack!

Global Greetings: The European Bee-eater's range extends beyond Europe, with populations breeding in Africa and western Asia. These transcontinental travelers play a vital role in pollination and insect control, highlighting their ecological importance across the globe.

Unexpected Winter Warriors: Contrary to most bee-eaters that migrate south for the winter, some European populations choose to bravely face the cold. They rely on a diet of berries and suet, proving their resilience and adaptability to harsh conditions. They're the feathered Vikings of the bee-eater world!

Communal Colony Buzz: While fiercely territorial during breeding season, Bee-eaters often form loose colonies outside of nesting periods. They share foraging grounds, preen each other's feathers, and even engage in playful chases, hinting at a hidden social side amongst these buzzing beauties.

Symbiotic Symphony: Bee-eaters play a crucial role in the delicate balance of nature. By controlling bee and wasp populations, they help maintain the health of ecosystems they inhabit. It's a beautiful dance of life, with feathered acrobats contributing to the vibrant tapestry of the natural world.