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European bee-eater


Common name European bee-eater
Scientific name Merops apiaster
Type Farmland birds
Status Summer

Very showy bird of medium size (approx 28 cm or 11 in). Exotic colours, with reddish, yellow and green upperparts, and greenish and bluish underparts. Yellow throat and black stripes in the shape of a mask over the eyes. There are hardly any differences between sexes, although the females have a more greenish colour while the males are more brown. Red eyes and pointed silhouette in flight in wings, tail and head. Easy to identify when perched and with a characteristic call in flight that is heard from great distances.



Where it lives

Present especially in open terrain where it looks for slopes, gorges and vertical sandy walls to excavate its nests. Absent in woods and high mountains. It prefers areas of grassland and with bushes or scattered trees.

How it lives

Migratory species present in Malaga only during the summer season. The nests are galleries of 50-200 cm (1.5-6.5 ft) in length. It lays eggs only once a year, an average of six or seven of them that are incubated by both the male and the female. The European Bee-Eater is an in-flight hunter of insects, especially bees and wasps but also flies and dragonflies, usually hunting in a group. It spends wintertime in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Abundant bird and easy to see in the province. It usually perches on fences and telephone or electricity cables, on the margins of roads and highways. This bird can be located practically in all the Great Malaga Path.

Curious facts

Its name refers to the fact that it is specialized in the consumption of bees, which is why it often conflicts with the owners of hives. However, the main risk for bees and honey production is not bee-eaters, but the pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture.

Routes where it can be observed
Wintering Summer Resident Migration