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White-fronted Bee-eater

White-fronted Bee-eater
Photo Information
Copyright: Natley Prinsloo (Mamagolo2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 158 W: 1 N: 636] (3124)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-09-17
Categories: Birds
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-09-22 10:04
Viewed: 2729
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Todays photo I would like to dedicate to my husband Marius as we've been married 38 years today. As I was sitting next to the dam on Saturday taking photos of the Cormorants this White-fronted bee-eater was catching insect’s right next to us – up and down, up and down, resting a while just to fly off again trying to catch more insects. I’ve become accustomed to the sound the make and immediately know if there is one in the vicinity. I could’ve truly sat there all day long without moving an inch. When the stress and work sometimes gets too much I just get into my car lunch times and drive to the nearest waterhole to just drink in the peace of the bush and then I can go back to the office and face any of the giants coming my way.

White-fronted Bee-eater
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The White-fronted Bee-eater, Merops bullockoides, is a species of bee-eater widely distributed in sub-equatorial Africa.
They have a distinctive white forehead, a square tail and a bright red patch on their throat. They nest in small colonies, digging holes in cliffs or earthen banks but can usually be seen in low trees waiting for passing insects from which they hunt either by making quick hawking flights or gliding down before hovering briefly to catch insects.

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird, but with a distinctive black mask, white forehead, square tail and a bright red throat. The upperparts are green, with cinnamon underparts. The call is a deep squeak.

White-fronted Bee-eaters are found in the vast savannah regions of sub-equatorial Africa. The habitat commonly consists of open country, often near gullies, because this is the region that their food (bees) lives.

Nesting and Reproduction
A nesting colony in Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
White-fronted bee-eaters nest in colonies averaging 200 individuals, digging roosting and nesting holes in cliffs or banks of earth. A population of bee-eaters may range across many square kilometres of savannah, but will come to the same colony to roost, socialize, and to breed. White-fronted bee-eaters have one of the most complex family-based social systems found in birds.

Colonies comprise socially monogamous, extended family groups with overlapping generations, known as "clans" which exhibit cooperative breeding. Non-breeding individuals become helpers to relatives and assist to raise their brood. In white-fronted bee-eaters, this helping behavior is particularly well developed with helpers assisting in half of all nesting attempts. These helpers may contribute to all aspects of the reproductive attempt, from digging the roosting or nesting chamber, to allow feeding the female, incubating and feeding the young; and have a large effect on increasing the number of young produced.
Only 50% of non-breeders in a colony typically become helpers, and whether or not an individual becomes a helper and to whom it provides aid is heavily dependent on the degree of kinship involved. Non-breeders are most likely to become helpers when breeding pairs are close genetic relatives. When faced with a choice of potential recipient nests helpers preferential help the breeding pair to who they are most closely related, suggesting that this behaviour may serve to increase the helper's inclusive fitness.
Female White-fronted Bee-eaters leaving their nesting burrows must avoid pursuit by unmated males who may force them to the ground and rape them. Furthermore their unwelcome attentions are preferentially against females who are laying eggs and who thus might lay the eggs of their rapist rather than their mate.

Feeding and Diet
Their diet is made up primarily of bees, but they also take other flying insects depending on the season and availability of prey. Two hunting methods have been observed. They either make quick hawking flights from lower branches of shrubs and trees, or glide slowly down from their perch and hover briefly to catch insects.

PeakXV, bungbing, PaulLees, Jakkals, Pitoncle has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Jakkals: Bee-eaterMamagolo2 1 09-24 10:36
To mwmod99: White-fronted Bee-eaterMamagolo2 1 09-22 10:54
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Critiques [Translate]

STUNNING capture Natley! Proudly South African ! Well done! Perfect point of view, good clarity, depth of field and colors...simply awesome! Bravo!
Forever your friend ;)
George Veltchev

hello Natley
Supper picture of this beauty
great details and good sharpness
i like the colours see not so many
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2011-09-22 11:53]

Hello Natley,
Excellent photo of this White-fronted Bee-eater. Great sharpness, details and depth of field. Very beautiful natural colours. Nice pose and composition.

  • Great 
  • PeakXV Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 121 W: 0 N: 544] (3135)
  • [2011-09-22 18:03]

Hello Natley,

Enchanting, rare & very creative composition of this Bee-eater perched precariously on a rock face. The stone & subdued surroundings really bring out those feathery hues. I like this sharp image very much ..... & a Happy 38th Anniversary to you & your husband!


Hello Natley,
An excellent shot of this White-fronted Bee-eater, beautiful details sharpness, lovely natural colours, good out of focus background and very nice highlighted eye,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day,
Best Regards,

Hi Natley, Well first of all Congratulations to you and Marius on your 38th wedding anniversary, and what a superb picture you have dedicated to Marius, excellent quality and sharpness with good clarity, fabulous exposure/white balance control to support these wonderful natural colours, splendid OOF dark background that complements the bird well, excellent work here Natley Bravo! and very well done,
Best Regards,


PS Hope you get over your flu asap:).

Hi Natley,
Yes I am back on TN. Good capture of this stunning Bee-Eater. Facinating species and good notes. I like the eye detail, colours, POV and DOF.

Bonjour Natley,
Agréable valorisation du sujet sous un bon angle de prise de vue et dans une belle lumière.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Nice shot with good colours and composition.

Hi Natley,
This is sutch a stunning photo - the bird and rock colours looks so great!
Baie mooi!
Vriendelike Groete

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