Most beautiful small birds - Sykalo Eugen 2024

Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus)


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


  • Size: Medium-sized bird, about 25-28 cm (9.8-11 in) long with a wingspan of 38-40 cm (15-16 in).
  • Body shape: Slender and streamlined, with long, pointed wings, a long, thin tail, and a short neck.
  • Plumage color: Strikingly vibrant, with a carmine red body, turquoise-blue head and throat, black mask, and black-tipped wings and tail.
  • Beak: Long, slender, and slightly curved, black in color, perfectly adapted for catching insects in flight.
  • Legs: Short and black.
  • Tail: Long and streamer-like, often held in a V-shape during flight.


  • Method of feeding: Aerial insectivores, catching insects, especially bees and wasps, in flight. They often perch on exposed branches to watch for prey and then swoop out to snatch it with their beaks.
  • Reproduction: Nests in colonies in sandy banks or cliffs, excavating tunnels where they lay 4-6 white eggs. Both parents care for the young.
  • Movement: Migratory in parts of their range, moving to warmer climates in winter.
  • Communication: Loud, rolling calls and sharp chirps, often used to communicate with flock mates and warn of predators.


  • Habitat: Open woodlands, grasslands, savannas, and scrublands with scattered trees and bushes.
  • Diet: Primarily insects, especially bees, wasps, hornets, and dragonflies.
  • Hunting methods: Catches insects in flight, using a combination of aerial acrobatics and precise timing to snatch prey with their beaks.

Distribution: Found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia and south to South Africa. Also found in parts of the Middle East and Asia.

Carmine Bee-eater

The Carmine Bee-eater is a sight to behold. With its vibrant pink plumage, black mask, and long, trailing feathers, it's a feathered flame soaring through the African skies. But beneath its beauty lies a treasure trove of fascinating facts and unexpected quirks that make this bird a true scientific and natural marvel:

Aerial Acrobats: Forget clumsy bumblebees; Carmine Bee-eaters are masters of the air. They can dive, twist, and turn with lightning-fast reflexes, snatching unsuspecting bees mid-flight with acrobatic precision. Imagine them as feathered fighter jets with built-in insect-intercepting missiles!

Bee-Eaters, Not Eaters: Don't be fooled by their name. While bees are their primary prey, Carmine Bee-eaters don't simply devour them whole. They have a fascinating ritual: they remove the stingers before enjoying the honeyed goodness within. Talk about feathered chefs with built-in de-stingers!

Sandcastle Architects: Unlike most birds that nest in trees or crevices, Carmine Bee-eaters prefer a more unconventional approach. They dig tunnels up to six feet deep in sandy cliffs and riverbanks, creating cozy nesting chambers for their chicks. They're the feathered excavators with built-in shovels and a penchant for cliffside digs!

Cooperative Breeders: Raising chicks is no easy feat, and Carmine Bee-eaters recognize this. They often engage in cooperative breeding, with older offspring and helpers assisting the breeding pair in feeding and protecting the young. It's a feathered family affair with built-in babysitters!

Unexpected Tool Users: Recent research suggests Carmine Bee-eaters might be smarter than we thought. They have been observed using sticks and twigs as tools to pry open stubborn termite mounds, revealing a tasty buffet of insects within. Talk about feathered MacGyvers with built-in pocket toolkits!

Mimicry Masters: Don't let their beauty fool you; Carmine Bee-eaters are also talented mimics. They can perfectly imitate the calls of other birds, insects, and even predators, sometimes using these vocal tricks to confuse rivals or attract mates. Imagine them as feathered ventriloquists with built-in sound effects!

Colorful Chameleons: Believe it or not, not all Carmine Bee-eaters are created equal. There are two distinct subspecies: the Northern Carmine Bee-eater with its striking pink throat and the Southern Carmine Bee-eater with its vibrant blue throat. It's like a feathered fashion show with two stunning color palettes!

Symbiotic Symphony: Carmine Bee-eaters play a crucial role in their ecosystem. By controlling insect populations, they help maintain the health of savannas and grasslands. This beautiful dance of life showcases how feathered jewels contribute to the vibrant tapestry of nature.