Rainbow Bee-eater

I saw my first Rainbow Bee Eater at the Broome Bird Observatory in 2013. I was astonished to learn that they are regular visitors to Perth, making the journey down around Mid October each year, before heading back north. I assume they don’t like the wet season in the Kimberly any more than anyone else does.

There are a lot of birds with names that make you wonder what recreation drugs the person naming it might have been taking.  This bird, however has exactly the right name.

It looks like a flying rainbow, and it eats bees.  Originality 0, accuracy 10 out of 10.

Rainbow bee-Eaters burrow. They pick a nice sandy bank, or in Broome, the side of the road and they excavate a nice deep hole in which they will lay eggs.

They are supreme aerial acrobats.  Some of them have a favourite branch, where they can be found day after day, from which they launch themselves into the air, do a few loops and sweeps and return with a tasty insect in their beak.

Being smart little bee-eaters they will then wipe a bee or wasp against the branch to get rid of the hurty bits before enjoying the meal.

Despite having lived in Perth for almost all my life, this year was the first I have ever seen one of these in the area.  That says far more about me than it does them.  When you know what to look, and listen for, they are practically everywhere (well at lots of the best parks and reserves in the North West suburbs anyway).

There are a number of other bee-eaters worldwide, most of them quite beautiful.

More information
Family: Meropidae


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