Merops superciliosus (Madagascar bee-eater, Olive bee-eater) 

Olyfbyvreter [Afrikaans]; Blauwwang-bijeneter [Dutch]; GuÍpier de Madagascar [French]; Madagaskarspint, Madagaskar-bienenfresser [German]; Abelharuco-olivŠceo [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 superciliosus (Madagascar bee-eater, Olive bee-eater)   

Madagascar bee-eater, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

 

The Madagascar bee-eater occupies large areas in Eastern sub-Saharan Africa, with a smaller population in Namibia and Angola. It prefers open riverine woodland, coastal plains (especially with mangroves) and wooded swamps - it is seldom far from water. It is insectivorous, doing most of its foraging in open areas, hawking insects on the ground and in the air. It lives in colonies of about 10-30, sometimes even 400 breeding pairs, who dig their burrows into a riverbank or erosion gully. It lays about 4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes. The nestlings stay in the nest for a weeks, eventually fledging around December.

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Ethiopia south through Tanzania and eastern DRC to Angola, Zambia and southern Africa. Within southern Africa it is common but highly localized, occurring in north-west Namibia, north-western Zimbabwe amd eastern Mozambique. It generally prefers open riverine woodland, coastal plains (especially with mangroves) and wooded swamps - it is seldom found far from water.

Distribution of Madagascar 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).

Food 

It is insectivorous, doing most of its foraging in open areas, hawking insects on the ground and in the air. Its diet has not been studied in southern Africa, however in other areas the following items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • Monogamous, nesting in colonies of 10-60 breeding pairs, although a 400 pair colony was once recorded.
  • The nest is excavated by both sexes and consists of a tunnel ending a egg chamber, typically dug into a riverbank or erosion gullies.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-December.
  • It lays about four eggs, which are incubated by both sexes.
  • Little is known about the chicks, besides that they fledge around December.

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. 

 
 

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