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Coraciiformes > Meropidae

Southern Carmine Bee-eater

Merops nubicoides

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Identification

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A large, spectacular, slender, carmine-pink-and-teal-blue bee-eater with a long pointed tail, black bill, and black facial mask. The immature is duller and shorter-tailed. It gathers in large groups that often attend bush fires, and it specializes in catching large flying insects, including dragonflies, butterflies, and locusts. Breeds colonially by burrowing into sandbanks. It has a complex three-stage migration; it generally breeds between 13–20°S from August–September, disperses south of the breeding area December–March, and then moves north of the breeding area April–August. “Trik-trik-trik” calls are more guttural than those of European Bee-eater. Similar Northern Carmine Bee-eater has a teal-colored (not carmine) chin and throat.

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Southern Carmine Bee-eater

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