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Little Bee-eater

Little Bee-eater
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-23
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-10-25 7:29
Viewed: 4812
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Dear TN Friends,
In the beautiful light of the late afternoon I took this photo. A day with sunshine and a blue sky, which was special in the rainy season in Ethiopia. But in the south, where this photo is taken, it was quite a lot better than in the north.
In relation to the length of the branch I’ve chosen for this composition.

The Little Bee-eater, Merops pusillus is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is resident in much of sub-Saharan Africa. It should not be confused with the Little Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis. Migration is limited to seasonal movements depending on rainfall patterns.

This subspecies is the Merops pusillus cyanostictus of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Kenia.
The M.p.cyanostictus of NE Africa has extensive supercilium extending onto frons and narrow blue line above collar.

The Little Bee-eater, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird. It has green upper parts, yellow throat, black gorget, and rich brown upper breast fading to buffish ocre on the belly. The wings are green and brown, and the beak is black. It reaches a length of 15-17 cm, which makes it the smallest African bee-eater. Sexes are alike. Often silent, their call is a soft "seep".

This is an abundant and tame bird, familiar throughout its range. There have been estimated to be between 60-80 million Little Bee-eaters.

It's a bird which breeds in open country with bushes, preferably near water. Just as the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. This species often hunts from low perches, maybe only a metre or less high. Before eating its meal, a bee-eater removes the sting by repeatedly hitting the insect on a hard surface.
Unlike most bee-eaters, these are solitary nesters, making a tunnel in sandy banks, or sometimes in the entrance to an Aardvark den. They lay 4 to 6 spherical white eggs. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs. These birds roost communally, lined up on a tree branch.

Source: Wikipedia ; ’ Birds of Africa, South of the Sahara’ by I.Sinclair and P. Ryan; Internet: Avibase-The World Bird database.

Argus, eqshannon, Amadeo, ellis49, techranger, Dis. Ac., boreocypriensis, nglen, jaycee, Jamesp, crs, ridvan, horia, Evelynn, Maite, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-10-25 7:38]

Hello Peter,
A fine capture of a Little Bee-eater in great lighting against a blue sky taken from a fine POV with great sharpness. This one has more blue over the eye than those I have seen in W. Africa. Nice composition too.
TFS this delightful image,
Have a good weekend,

This appears as sharp and well coloured as anyone could expect in a image of a bird, from a man who specializes in such! Excellent notes make a good read as well. It certainly is a "pretty bird"...I suspect it would be one that is hard to miss if close by eh? Does it flit off quickly? Very good then!

Hola Peter, muy bonita fotografia, con una agradable composición, tonos de color brillantes muy atractivos y un excelente foco. Un saludo

Hello Peter

A very colourful capture of this little bee eater.
The contrast between plumage and the sky is lovely.
Well focused with sharp details.
Nicely placed in the frame,you have captured very nice eye catc light and detail.


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-10-25 8:51]

Hi Peter
Wonderful Capture.Nice composition,
pose and well framed.
Good sharpness and detail in the feathers
Lovely color with matching background
Regards Siggi

Hi Peter,
a very fine capture of this beautiful Bee-eater.
Light and colours are great aand so are the exposure and sharpness. Well composed with good POV.
Very nice work.


Brillant, well composed and well detailed image Peter. The late afternoon light adds even a bit more of a warm glow. POV is great. We found a hornets nest inside the framing of our old front bay window when we were replacing the window. Could have used this bird and a few more like him... :)

TFS. Have a great weekend...


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-10-25 10:47]

Hello Peter, another great bird and another great shot! You shoot like a machine gun!:-) Well done, I'm impressed. Thanks.


Hallo Peter,

Mooie foto van deze Bijeneter, je hebt al een hele verzameling tropische vogeld zo.
Mooie kleuren en pose van de vogel.


Hi Peter,
A beautiful capture of this cute little bee-eater with nicve details and sharpness.
TFS and greetings from Cyprus,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-10-25 13:21]

Hi Peter. Firstly thanks for the interesting notes to go with the fine shot of the little Bee Eater. It has such bright colours which you have taken so well with good detail. It stands out so well against the clear blue sky. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-10-25 15:36]

Hi Peter,

Another beauty from Ehiopia! I've only seen pictures of Bee Eaters but I've never seen one with that beautiful blue over the eye. It is stunning with the black and golds. The eye is magnificent. Beautiful colors and details of the whole bird. Nice pose on the branch with the blue sky for a background.


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-10-25 16:41]

Hi Peter

Lovely shot of this Bee-eater - not the easiest of subjects. Excellent detail and lighting.


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-10-25 16:49]

Woow Peter,what a fantastics colors!!!!The point of view and the warm light are impressives.Very interesting birs,my best compliments,Luciano

Hallo Peter,
Heb hem welgeteld 1 keertje gezien en gefotografeerd in Zuid-Afrika. Mijn empirisch gedachtengoed zei me toen dat ie vrij zeldzaam is; als ik de 80000000 andere vogels verdisconteer, dan kom ik wel ergens...
Het blijft een mooi vogeltje dat je al even mooi geplaat hebt.

Hi peter; fantastic and beautiful capture of this bee eater.amazing shot with superb details and good colours.Very nice BG and composition.TFS

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-10-26 2:44]

Hi again

This, too, is an excellent close-up but in opposition to you other shot (the one with the butterfly) where details and DOF were very essential, here the colors are the main element...and they are SUPERB!
Great tones and hues for the bird and good close-up level that lets us see its interesting but lovely "make-up" :)
Great contrast with the BG and exceptional composition - with plenty of room in the direction the little Bee-eater is looking in.

Bravo and TFS

Ciao Peter, lovely little bird with fantastic colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-10-26 8:58]

Hello Peter,

There are the wonderful colors that atract viewers atention and keep it focused on the bird. Sharpness is excelent so that plumage can be seen in great details. The simple but very good composition brings even more value to the image.

Thank you for sharing,

  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-10-26 9:02]

merhaba peter
good capture of this rare and colourful bird
i like pose, POV, colours and sharpness

A very colourful capture of this little bee eater.

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-10-26 11:24]

Hi Peter,
superb composition and overall presentation,love the bright yellow against that blue sky. Great work my friend.

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2008-10-26 13:14]

Hi Peter
Very nice coloured image.Composition,sharpness and light are very good.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-10-26 15:13]

What a beautiful bird!
The colours on it are amazing!
Very good composition.
Great exposure.
Superb contrast.

Well done,

This is a bright, colorful, cheerful image Peter. Wonderful exposure and sharpness.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2008-10-27 2:22]

WOW! What a lovely capture of this beautiful bee-eater! I like a lot the intense color of its plumage and the excellent composition.
Congratulations and TFS

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-10-27 3:26]

Hello Peter, Interesting colors and a superb eye focus. Look at the shining eyes. Great BG makes the picture interesting. Ganesh

Excellent cadrage, des couleurs superbes

Hello Peter

Excellent photo of the Little Bee-eater with
fine POV and framing, very beautiful light
and colors of the bird, excellent focus,
sharpness, and details, TFS


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