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European Bee-eater

European Bee-eater
Photo Information
Copyright: Carl Landsberg (Jakkals) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 187 W: 3 N: 587] (2813)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-12-11
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 7D, Canon EF 600mm f4.0L IS USM
Exposure: f/6.3
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Animals feeding, part one [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2013-01-12 11:42
Viewed: 3580
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 38
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hallo TN friends,
This photo was taken in the Etosha national park in Namibia. This little fellow entertained me with quite a few insects it caught and consumed. Hope you enjoy it. Only slight shadow / highlight and cropping was done.

European Bee-eater
The European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It breeds in southern Europe and in parts of north Africa and western Asia. It is strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa, India and Sri Lanka. This species occurs as a spring overshoot north of its range, with occasional breeding in northwest Europe.

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly-coloured, slender bird. It has brown and yellow upper parts, whilst the wings are green and the beak is black. It can reach a length of 2729 cm (10.611.4 in), including the two elongated central tail feathers. Sexes are alike.

This is a bird which breeds in open country in warmer climates. 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. Before eating its meal, a European Bee-eater removes the sting by repeatedly hitting the insect on a hard surface. It eats some 250 bees daily.[citation needed] Lizards and frogs are also taken. The most important prey item in their diet are Hymenoptera, mostly Apis mellifera; a study in Spain found that these comprise 69.4% to 82% of the European bee-eaters' diet. Their impact on bee populations however is small; they eat less than 1% of the worker bees in the area in which they live.
A study found that European bee-eaters "convert food to body weight more efficiently if they are fed a mixture of bees and dragonflies than if they eat only bees or only dragonfiles."

These bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks, preferably near river shores, usually at the beginning of May. They make a relatively long tunnel in which the 5 to 8, spherical white eggs are laid around the beginning of June. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs, which are brooded for about 3 weeks. These birds also feed and roost communally.
During courtship the male feeds large items to the female while eating the small ones himself. Most males are monogamous, but occasional bigamy has been encountered.
The call is a pleasant distinctive trill.

drchoneydew, maaciejka, Marco2010, CeltickRanger, Argus, Miss_Piggy, Ingrid1 has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To corjan3: Ignore Workshopcorjan3 3 01-14 11:45
To devildoc: European Bee-eaterJakkals 1 01-13 01:19
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2013-01-12 11:46]

Hello Carl.
Excellent shot off this bee eater.Lovely compo with vivid colours,great sharpness and details,
superb timing!REgards Siggi

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-01-12 12:05]

Hallo Carl,
Wat een mooie dynamische foto! Geweldig goed van scherpte en prachtig van kleur. Uitstekende timing en compositie.

The color on the wings, light in his eye, right before his meal is consumed..just perfect focal length. Well done indeed and my favorite today

Hi Carl,
what a nice situation you have captured. Excellent timing. Nice colours. Very good composition.
Thanks for sharing,

Ciao Carl, great macro of lovely bee-eater in nice action, wonderful colors, splendid sharpness and fine details, very well done, my friend, have a good Sunday, ciao Silvio

Ciao Carl.
Eccellente tempismo nel fare questo scatto,grande nitidezza con ottimi dettagli di questo Gruccione in caccia ,eccellenti i colori naturali,ottima la composizione,molto bene.
Ciao Marco.
Grazie della condivisione

Hello Carl

You shot the photo with great timing,
beautiful light, excellent focus,
sharpness, and details, TFS


Hello Carl,

Interesting none of the critiques made any comment about the unique nature of the open beak and a fly in the air! That makes the image a rare one! I would like to know the situation in which you achieved this regarding set-up, etc.?


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-01-12 15:44]

Hi Carl,a beautiful capture of this bee-eater caught in the act,lucky pic and great timing whit the best details,colors and exposure,i like it!Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Hello Carl,
Simply a awesome picture! superb timing, sharpness and angle.
great picture.
best wishes,

Impressive scene Carl! Excellent composition and wonderful colours.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2013-01-12 23:08]

Hello Carl,
Great timing makes this a fine action shot of a European Bee-eater turning his prey in the air to get it in swallowing position.
Excellent clarity , colours and composition.
Unusual to see this species taken while spending the winter in Africa.
Thanks and best regards,

Hallo Carl
It is great to see you back and I cannot wait to see the rest of your images taken there if it is as good as this one. This is a great macro with details of the bird and its prey beautifully seen against the blue sky as backdrop. This is a type of image that I still have on my wish list. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

hallo Carl
super goed moment om een foto te nemen
veel details en super mooie kleuren
bedankt gr.lou

Hi Carl,
Welcome back with a beautiful image my Friend. The colours, quality, composition and action are all supreme. The 7D, EF 600 and the photographer make a great team. Something puzzles me here. At first glance the bird's beak seems to be wide open but the angle and scale are not right. The beak must be closed with what appears to be a bill behind being something different but I cannot figure out what it might be - it has virtually identical geometry to the beak. Or is this some sort of "double exposure" seeing you used burst mode? I will try a workshop. Please can you clarify. Best wishes for a very good week ahead.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-01-13 16:52]

Hello Carl,
What are the chances of a unique capture like this, awesome shot!!! The Bee-eater is in fine focus and so is it's prey. Wonderful exposure even though your subject is against a bright sky. These birds are always a pleasure to view, because of their gorgeous plumages. Great job!!

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-01-13 23:26]

Excellent timing to get this beautiful image. tfs.

Hello Carl
You are right my Friend.We have the same tutor regarding ISO settings.This picture is superb in all aspects:timing,POV,composition.Great sharpness also.A bit noisy, I think the ISO could be some lower just to have aceptable speed,over 1/1250s.Thank You for the note.What I can add is my testimony that You can see in my pic: http://www.treknature.com/viewphotos.php?l=3&p=278258
Thank You
Have a good day!
Best regards

Dear Carl
Apologies for adding you to my theme "animals feeding" without letting you know/writing a critique. But my Internet connection died, and later I forgot... so sorry.

I love your action photo, it is by far the best Bee Eater image, Ihave seen so far ( and I have many Books :-)) all images show Bee Eaters bashing the bee against a branch or stone, but never actually the catching action. and I add it to my favorites.
Your photographic technique is just perfect, and the natural colors make it a pleasure to view your work.

Warm greetings from the Tzaneen Dam in Limpopo, South Africa

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