Merops persicus (Blue-cheeked bee-eater) 

Blouwangbyvreter [Afrikaans]; isiThwelathwela [Zulu]; Sitembandayi (generic term for non-Carmine bee-eaters) [Kwangali]; Muhladzanhu, Muhlagambu (generic terms for bee-eater) [Tsonga]; Groene bijeneter [Dutch]; GuÍpier de Perse [French]; Blauwangenspint [German]; Abelharuco-persa [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Coraciiformes > Family: Meropidae

Merops persicus (Blue-cheeked bee-eater)  Merops persicus (Blue-cheeked bee-eater) 
Blue-cheeked bee-eater, Divundu, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Blue-cheeked bee-eater, Botswana. [photo Neil Gray ©]

The Blue-cheeked bee-eater is a palearctic breeding migrant, arriving in southern Africa from October-November, and leaving for its Eurasian breeding grounds in the period from March-May, mainly April. In southern Africa, it generally prefers savanna, but it can also be found on open lake shores with reeds, wooded swamps and bushy grassland. It is insectivorous, usually hawking insects aerially, but also taking prey from the ground.

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across sub-Saharan Africa, largely excluding Sudan and northern DRC. In southern Africa it is locally common in northern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip), northern and south-eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa. It generally prefers savanna, open lake shores with reeds, wooded swamps and bushy grassland.

Distribution of Blue-cheeked bee-eater in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and Migrations

Palearctic breeding migrant, arriving in southern Africa from October-November and leaving for its Eurasian breeding grounds in the period from March-May.

Food 

Insectivorous, usually hawking insects aerially but also taking prey from the ground. Once it has caught something it returns to its perch, where it kills and swallows its prey (unless its a bee or wasp - in this case it has to first rub it against a branch to disable its venom). The following prey items have been recorded in its diet:

Threats

Not threatened.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 
 

 Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Birds home   Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search