Southern carmine bee-eater

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Southern carmine bee-eater
Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) (16732824032).jpg
Merops nubicoides.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Meropidae
Genus: Merops
M. nubicoides
Binomial name
Merops nubicoides
(Des Murs & Pucheran, 1846)
Merops nubicoides distribution map.png
Southern carmine bee-eater distribution map. Red colour – resident; orange – breeding; yellow – non-breeding.

The southern carmine bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) (formerly carmine bee-eater) occurs across sub-equatorial Africa.


This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, striking bird, predominantly carmine in colouration, but with the crown and undertail coverts blue.

Range and movements[edit]

It occurs from KwaZulu-Natal and Namibia to Gabon, the eastern DRCongo and Kenya. This is a migratory species, spending the breeding season, between August and November, in Zimbabwe and Zambia, before moving south to South Africa for the summer months, and then migrating to equatorial Africa from March to August.

Diet and foraging[edit]

Their diet is made up primarily of bees and other flying insects, and their major hunting strategy involves hawking flying insects from perch. Perches may include branches of vegetation or even the backs of large animals, such as the kori bustard. They are attracted to wildfires because of the flushed insects, and are often seen circling high in the air. They circle larger animals and even cars to catch the insects that are trying to escape.

Habitat and breeding[edit]

Its usual habitat included low-altitude river valleys and floodplains, preferring vertical banks suitable for tunneling when breeding, but readily digging vertical burrows in the level surface of small salt islands. This is a highly sociable species, gathering in large flocks, in or out of breeding season. They roost communally in trees or reedbeds, and disperse widely during the day. Nesting is at the end of a 1 to 2 meter long burrow in an earthen bank, where they lay from 2 to 5 eggs.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Merops nubicoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  • Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th edition (John Voelcker Fund, 1993) ISBN 0-620-17583-4

External links[edit]