Northern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus)
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.
Describer (Date): Gelin, 1788
Species: Merops nubicus — Northern Carmine Bee-eater
Species: Merops nubicoides — Southern Carmine Bee-eater
Body Length: 24-27 cm (9.5-11 in) (both species)
Plumage: Brilliant pink and blue; black mask; streamers up to 12 cm (4.8 in)
Beak: Black,moderately long, sharp-pointed, downwards curved
|Distribution & Status||Behavior & Ecology|
Range: Tropical savannas of Africa; two species widely separated in central and southern Africa
Habitat: Tropical, well-watered, warm bushy and woody savannas; river
IUCN Status: Least Concern (both species)
CITES Appendix: not listed
Populations in the Wild: Unknown; 1980s rough estimate of 5 million individuals (both species combined)
Migration: Complex three-part annual cycle between higher and lower latitudes for feeding, breeding, nesting
Activity Cycle: Diurnal. After dawn, emerge from nest burrows; perch, preen, and fly as clan groups to feed. Return in late afternoon to socialize and preen; enter burrows for night.
Social Groups: Very gregarious. Form huge breeding colonies with up
Diet: Consume many species of flying insects, especially bees and bee-predators.
Predators: Monitor lizards rob nests. Humans kill birds for their feathers and because they believe these birds pose a threat to bee hives.
|Reproduction & Development||Species Highlights|
Courtship: Aerial pursuits common before nesting time; copulation may
Clutch Size: 2-3 eggs; rarely up to 5
Nest: Usually dug in cliffs; occasionally nest on level ground
Hatchlings: Born blind and naked (altricial) 1-3 days apart; extreme size differences in chicks
Fledgling: 23-30 days; fed for another 6 weeks
Longevity: c. 7 years (over 17 years in managed care)
© 2010-2018 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Updated March 2010. IUCN Status, Body Measurements, Threats to Survival updated Jun 2018.
How to cite: Carmine Bee-Eaters (Merops nubicus & M. nubicoides) Fact Sheet. c2010-2018. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ carminebee-eater. (note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2014 Sep 15)
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