David Element

Wildlife Photography and Digital Video Images

________________________________ Birds 47 European Bee-eaters

 

 

 

                                                              EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster

 

 

                                                              EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster

 

 

                                                              EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster

 

 

                                                              EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster

 

 

                                                              EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster

 

 

European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster are wonderful to watch as they swoop high overhead at high speed in pursuit of insects. They have a characteristic and easily identifiable liquid call that the observer will often detect well in advance of actually seeing them although they can be surprisingly hard to pick out against the background of a bright blue sky. With their wings closed they are beautifully streamlined and their hunting technique is highly effective even if they do bely their name by catching many food items other than bees, for example the Paper Wasp Polistes sp. shown in the process of being swallowed in the second photograph or the migrating Hummingbird Hawk Moth Macroglossum stellatarum being captured high overhead in the final two images. These colourful birds are quite common in the Camargue and Ardche areas of southern France in which these pictures were taken. Only adults possess the extended twin tail feathers seen in the final three photographs.

 

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David Element