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Wildlife Wednesday: European Bee-Eater

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Wildlife Wednesday: European Bee-Eater

This Wildlife Wednesday, learn about the amazingly colourful European Bee-Eater.

Habitat

European bee-eaters are migratory birds. Generally found in Europe and Asia over the summer months, they wing it south to Africa for the autumn and winter. They make their nests near supplies of fresh water, such as creeks, rivers, and lakes.

European Bee-Eater Trivia

  • These feathery insectivores aren’t that picky about their food; they’ll happily make a quick meal of wasps, hornets, dragonflies, and many other insects.
  • Like any dedicated family man, male bee-eaters are willing to do the grocery shopping while their mates are stuck with nest-duty. They’ll even give her the bigger bugs to munch on while keeping the smaller ones to themselves.
  • Instead of building their nests in trees, they dig burrows into the sides of steep banks in which they lay their eggs.
  • Long since considered to be “ecosystem engineers,” bee-eaters help to create livable environments for other species. For instance, their burrows, once abandoned, are often used by other small creatures, including snakes, rodents, and other birds.

Why they’re threatened

While not listed as endangered—or even as vulnerable—the numbers of this particular bee-eater species is on the decline. 

The use of pesticides on plants poses a serious risk to these birds, as it affects their supply of food. Other threats include habitat loss due to the transformation of rivers into canals, and hunting for food or sport.

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