Portrait in Paradise

Portrait in Paradise

Southern Carmine Bee-eater   Merops nubicoides

This sub-equatorial African species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, striking bird, predominantly carmine in colouration, but with the crown and undertail coverts blue.

Its usual habitat included low-altitude river valleys and floodplains, preferring vertical banks suitable for tunneling when breeding, but readily digging vertical burrows in the level surface of small salt islands. This is a highly sociable species, gathering in large flocks, in or out of breeding season. They roost communally in trees or reedbeds, and disperse widely during the day. Nesting is at the end of a 1-2m long burrow in an earthen bank, where they lay from 2-5 eggs.

This is a migratory species, spending the breeding season, between August and November, in Zimbabwe, before moving south to South Africa for the summer months, and then migrating to equatorial Africa from March to August.

This image was captured on the Chobe River, near Kasane, northern Botswana, Southern Africa.

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