Bee-eaters are a vibrant and beautiful group of birds known for their striking colours and graceful flight


different species


year average life span


length range



Vulnerability Factor

Least Concerned

Activity period




Bee-eaters are known for their vivid plumage, which often
includes a combination of green, blue, yellow, and brown feathers, making them a sight to
behold in the African skies.

Bee-eaters are renowned for their impressive aerial acrobatics as they swiftly dart through the air to catch their prey. They are skilled hunters, relying on their sharp bills and quick reflexes to snatch flying insects in mid-flight. These birds can be found in a range of habitats, including open woodlands, savannas, and grasslands, where they often perch on branches or wires, scanning the surroundings for their next meal.

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Bee-Eater Overview


When it comes to photographic opportunities, bee-eaters provide photographers with a splendid chance to capture their vibrant colours and dynamic flight patterns. Their feeding behaviour, where they catch insects in mid-air, offers exciting photo opportunities that showcase their agility and precision. Additionally, their perching poses and intricate courtship displays make for captivating images.

Bee-eaters are not considered scarce or rare in many African regions, with some species being relatively common. However, their presence may vary depending on the specific location and season, so it’s advisable to consult local birding guides or experts to increase the chances of sighting them.

Bee-Eater Overview

Key facts

  • Bee-eaters are predominantly insectivorous birds, with bees, wasps, dragonflies, and butterflies being their primary food sources.
  • There are several species of bee-eaters found in Africa, including the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, Little Bee-eater, and Carmine Bee-eater. These birds are highly migratory, with some species travelling long distances between their breeding and wintering grounds.
  • Bee-eaters are known for their cooperative breeding behaviour, where individuals in a group assist in raising the young.
  • They typically nest in burrows dug into earthen banks, creating tunnels for their nests.
  • The vibrant colours of bee-eaters serve as both a form of camouflage and a visual display during courtship rituals.
  • Bee-eaters have specialized adaptations in their bills, which allow them to remove the stingers of bees and wasps before consuming them.
  • These birds have a wide range of vocalizations, including melodious calls and chattering sounds.
  • Bee-eaters often engage in spectacular aerial courtship displays, involving intricate flight patterns and exchanges of food offerings.
  • African bee-eaters play a crucial role in controlling insect populations, particularly bees, which can have ecological implications for pollination and ecosystem balance.

Types and Habitats

Bee-eaters are a diverse group of birds with multiple species inhabiting different regions of Africa. They are commonly found in open habitats such as woodlands, savannas, scrublands, and even cultivated areas near water sources. Each 224 species has its preferred range and habitat, but they generally require suitable nesting sites and abundant insect populations to thrive. Different species include Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, Little Bee-eater, and Carmine Bee-eater.


Explore the Fascinating World of This Animal Through These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Bee-eaters as a group are not considered endangered. However, the conservation status of individual species may vary. For example, the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater is classified as a species of least concern, while the European Bee-eater is listed as a species of least concern but with a declining population trend. It’s essential to monitor and protect their habitats to ensure their long-term survival.

Yes, many bee-eater species are migratory. They undertake long-distance migrations to reach their breeding grounds during the warmer months and then move to different regions for the winter. These seasonal movements are driven by the availability of food and suitable breeding conditions.

Bee-eaters are cavity nesters and typically dig burrows into earthen banks for their nests. These burrows serve as safe places for incubating eggs and raising their young. Some species, like the Carmine Bee-eater, nest in large colonies, creating a visually spectacular sight.

As their name suggests, bee-eaters primarily feed on bees and other flying insects. They catch their prey in mid-air, skilfully plucking them from the sky using their sharp bills. They are also known to consume wasps, dragonflies, butterflies, and other similar insects.

Bee-eaters use various vocalizations to communicate with each other. These include melodic calls, chattering sounds, and specific calls during courtship displays. They also use visual displays and body postures as part of their communication repertoire.

Yes, bee-eaters are generally social birds. Some species form large colonies during the breeding season, where multiple pairs nest close to each other. They also engage in cooperative breeding, with non-breeding individuals assisting in raising the offspring of the dominant breeding pair.

Bee-eaters can be found in various regions of Africa, depending on the species. Popular locations for observing bee-eaters include savannas, woodlands, and riverbanks. Specific birding hotspots, such as national parks and nature reserves, offer excellent opportunities to encounter these colourful birds.

Bee-eaters are wild birds and should not be kept as pets. It is important to respect their natural habitat and observe them in their natural environment.

Bee-eaters face predation risks from various sources. Nest predation by snakes, mammals, and other birds poses a threat to their eggs and nestlings. Additionally, larger raptors such as eagles and hawks may prey on adult bee-eaters.