European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

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The European Bee-eater is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It breeds in southern Europe and in parts of north Africa and western Asia. It is strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa, India and Sri Lanka. This species occurs as a spring overshoot north of its range, with occasional breeding in northwest Europe. Just as the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees and wasps which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. Before eating its meal, a Bee-eater removes the sting by repeatedly hitting the insect on a hard surface. It eats some 250 bees daily. Lizards and frogs are also taken. They reach a length of 27–29 cm (10.6–11.4 in). Sexes are alike.
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Lake Kerkini, Greece, Europe

Nikon D200, Nikkor 80-400 mm at 400 mm, 1/800 sec at f/ 5.6, ISO 200
© Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos Photography. All Rights Reserved.


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