Bird of the Week: Little Bee-Eater


Another bird in Zambia that is both beautiful and common is the Little Bee-Eater.  We have seen them on most of our safaris and also our bird walks just outside the city.  Today was the first day that we saw one in our yard.  Jonathan saw one but it did not stick around for a picture.  Often when you see them they will be on a favorite perch. Like most bee-eaters, they hunt for insects from the perch, fly off to catch them and return to the same perch to eat them.  Thus they can be very easy to photograph.  As their name implies, they often eat bees and wasps which they de-sting before swallowing by rubbing them against the perch.  They also eat other flying insects, like butterflies, moths or dragonflies.

With the combination of their striking appearance and their insect catching antics, they are fun to watch which makes them popular with birders and non-birders alike.  Jonathan does not like to consider himself a birder and he does not care for lbj’s (little brown jobs) but he likes bee-eaters.  In his book they qualify as a bcb (big or colorful birds) which are the kind he likes.  I have to admit that I especially like their gorgeous turquoise eyebrow (supercilium for my fellow-birders).  (Photos by Jonathan)





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