True to their name they do eat bees

They also eat butterflies, hornets, dragonflies and other insects that fly.  I am talking of course about the stunning European Bee Eater with its rich reddish chestnut crown that blends into gold on its back. The forehead is white, the throat is bright yellow with a black line dividing it from the light blue chest. But that description really doesn’t do it justice.  If you are in the Algarve for the summer then do watch out for them, as they are now resident for the breeding season.


They are a monogamous bird, and nest in burrows in sandy-banks.  A new burrow every year apparently!  Whilst they are not considered at risk, their numbers like so many birds are falling because of human interactions.  We have so much to answer for as a species.  In this case it is our extensive use of pesticides killing off insects and the erosion/canalization of river banks which are causing the problems.

Merops apiaster
Merops apiaster
A perfect perch for sallies

Unfortunately I’ve yet to take a photograph which captures their beauty or even take one that I am really happy with. However I do have wonderful memories of watching them making ‘insect gathering’ sallies from perches in the fields around Alcoutim last month and it is those memories which led me to write this today. Next year I plan to do much better in terms of photographs, so hopefully I will one day be able to share something special.

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When in Portugal you will find me walking, cooking, photographing, reading and of course blogging. In England it is pretty much the same but with the addition of gardening and lots of volunteering!

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