Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Merops oreobates

2009 July 14
by David J. Ringer

NAIROBI, KENYA –

cinnamon-chested-bee-eater-merops-oreobates-1

Several Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters (Merops oreobates) hang out on the wires behind our house, where they can watch for flying insects attracted to nearby flowering trees. Bee-eaters are well known for catching bees in midair and then discharging the insects’ venom by rubbing them against a perch or squeezing the abdomen before swallowing.

Bee-eaters make up a colorful family that ranges widely across Eurasia, Africa, and Australasia. I encountered them first in Papua New Guinea’s highlands and have also seen them in Australia, southeast Asia, and Africa.

Bee-eaters belong to the Coraciiformes with rollers, ground rollers, todies, motmots, and kingfishers. They do look a bit like motmots, and they excavate nest burrows in the ground like kingfishers.

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2 Responses
  1. July 15, 2009

    Wow! They’re beautiful birds. Nice collection and arrangement of colors.

  2. July 20, 2009

    These are one of my favorite species of birds. In the western ghats of India where I live, these bee-eaters are quite common. They look a bit different in colors however.

    Bedse Caves

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