Blue-cheeked_bee-eater_Charles J. Sharp CC BY SA 4.0

Blue-cheeked bee-eater

The blue-cheeked bee-eater is a species which is found (as the map shows) throughout Africa, the middle east, India, and up throughout Russia. It is an occasional visitor to much of Europe and places like China. Generally preferring forested areas, with think to thinner forests, with plenty of clearings.

While it will happily take any insect on the wing, it specializes on various species of bee.

It generally breeds in North Africa, or the middle east, and spends the rest of the year in warmer parts of the Africa. Given this, it is strange that it is occasionally seen thousands of miles from these places 

There are 2 subspecies

  • Merops persicus persicus – Breeds in Asia, winters in East and Southern Africa.
  • Merops persicus chrysocercus – Breeds in North Africa, winters in West Africa.

This species is closely related to blue-tailed bee-eater, M. philippinus of East Asia, and the olive bee-eater of Africa (this is alternatively known as the Madagascar bee-eater), and has been treated as being the same species (conspecific).

Like other bee-eaters, it digs a tunnel into a mud bank, which can be 1m deep.

Below, is a video of this species from the Kenyan bush (I love the sound of the African bush, I hope to get back there soon)

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