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White-fronted Bee-eaters

White-fronted Bee-eaters
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: 2013-03-22
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 7D, Canon EF 600mm f4.0L IS USM
Exposure: f/4, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-05-13 11:50
Viewed: 3963
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hallo TN friends.
This pair of White-fronted Bee-eaters were captured in the Kruger National Park during my March 2013 visit to my sister Natley (Mamagolo2). It was a cloudy day from time to time.
Enjoy and comments are welcome.

White-fronted Bee-eater

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Coraciiformes

Family: Meropidae

Genus: Merops

Species: M. bullockoides
Binomial name

Merops bullockoides
(Smith, 1834)

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.


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 allofeeding 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 preferentially help the breeding pair to whom 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.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Merops bullockoides

1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Merops bullockoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
2. ^ Gosler, Andrew, ed. (1991), The Hamlyn photographic guide to birds of the world, foreword by Christopher Perrins, London: Hamlyn, ISBN 0-600-57239-0.
3. ^ Emlen, S. T. & Wrege, P. H. (1988), "The role of kinship in helping decisions among white-fronted bee-eaters", Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiolgy 23 (5): 305–315, doi:10.1007/BF00300577.
4. ^ Emlen, S. T. (1997), "Family Dynamics of Social Vertebrates", in Krebs, J. R.; Davies, N. B., Behavioural Ecology: An evolutionary approach (4th ed.), Cambridge: Blackwell Science, ISBN 0-86542-731-3.
5. ^ Emlen, S. T. & Wrege, P. H. (1986), "Forced copulations and intraspecific parasitism: two costs of social living in the white-fronted bee-eater", Ethology 71 (1): 2–29, doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.1986.tb00566.x.

CeltickRanger, josediogo1958, maaciejka, anel, Pitoncle, soccer has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Carl, great capture of lovely couple in nice pose, fantastic colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Tina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 60 W: 0 N: 132] (1427)
  • [2013-05-13 13:38]

Hello Carl,
Superb colours, details and light ! Lovely composition ! TFS Tina

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-05-13 14:52]

Hi Carl,beautiful capture of this pair of spectacular kingfisher,perfect DOF for the best details and very bright colors too,i like it!Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

Hello Carl

Excellent close-up photo of these White-fronted Bee-eaters
with very fine POV and the way with the tree
branch they are framed on the image, beautiful light,
great focus, sharpness, and details, TFS


Hi Carl,

These Bee Eaters are magnificent birds. Well done with great POV, colors, and focus. Soft natural lighting very tasteful. TFS


Hello Carl,
Beautiful couple of interesting birds. Beautifully composed photo.

Hi Carl,
Nice capture. I love the balance in composition of this take. Thanks for sharing.


Hello Carl
Wonderful capture of this couple in nice pose.Great composition,wonderful natural colours and great sharpness.Thank You.
Have a good day!
Best regards

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-05-14 6:59]

Beautiful pair of colorful bee eaters...good composition too..never seen this before, delighted. tfs.

Beautiful birds and beautiful photo Carl! The colours are fantastic! Good composition and good sharpness too,

Hi Carl,
really nice birds. Amazing colours. Excellent presentation. A lot of details.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-05-15 5:12]

Hello Carl,
What a vivid and colorful bird-picture. Love it for its natural appearance too. You must have been very happy to see these two Bee-eaters in such a nice pose.

Bonjour Carl,
Très bonne maitrise de la lumière et excellente profondeur de champ valorisant bien les sujets sous un bon angle de prise de vue.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

hallo Carl
Super picture of this beautiful couple beeeaters
the colours and sharpness are ver good and a very nice pose
thanks greeting lou

Hi Carl
The light is not perfect but he compo is


A very good pic as you don't always get the opportunity to get so cloase to the Bee Eaters. The composition, colours, POV and lighting are all good.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-08-10 18:47]

Hello Carl,
Bee-eaters have always been one of my favorite birds to view since joining TN. You have captured this pair perfectly and they are simply gorgeous with their multicolored plumages. Hopefully someday I will capture my own image of one of these attractive birds. Great job!!

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