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White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding

Diet

Insectivorous

  • As are all bee-eater species

Bee-eaters regurgitate 3-6 pellets of indigestible insect parts each day.

  • Pellets accumulate below colonies
  • Useful in studying diet
  • Excellent record accumulates of their diet, on ground below colonies.

Feeding

Travel to defended foraging areas that can be 4-7 km (2.5-4.4 mi) from colony site. (Hegner et al 1982)

Feed in air, foraging 50-100 m (164-328 ft) above ground for 5-10 minutes at a time. (Fry 1984).

Technique for making bees ready to eat while on a perch: (Fry 1984)

  • Position bee so it is held just behind the thorax.
  • Smack bee's head against perch.
  • Quickly change grip to hold tip of abdomen.
  • Rub tail-end against perch till it and the sting is crushed.
  • Rap head once or twice
  • Swallow bee.
  • A bee-eater raised in captivity by Fry (1984) learned, on its own, in about 10 attempts, to prepare a bee for eating.

Occasionally take small fish, observed in filmed behavior and from regurgitated pellets containing fish bones. (Fry 1984)

Eating Bees

Page Citations

Hegner et al (1982)
Fry (1984)

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