Bees, hornets and bee-eaters

posted in: Bee-eaters, Feeding-invertebrates | 2


As the name implies, bee-eaters are famed for its ability to handle bees (and wasps). They expertly catch these hymenopterans on the wing, bring them back to the perch to bash them so as to de-venom/de-sting them before swallowing.

The images by Chris Lee shows the Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) expertly handling the bee after removing its sting for swallowing (above left). With a flip, it tosses the bee into the air to catch it in its open mouth (above right).

Desmond Wong’s image of the Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus) shows the bird with a greater banded hornet (Vespa tropica) clasped in its bill (above).

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.


2 Responses

  1. […] have an earlier post of bee-eaters taking bee and wasp, but a carpenter bee? This is a very much larger bee that lives […]

  2. […] wasps would beat the insect on a branch to remove the sting before swallowing them (eg bee-eaters LINK). There have been reports of flycatchers eating bees and wasps but nothing was mentioned if they […]


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