Rainbow Bee-eater – Wagga Wagga

I have an aunt and uncle who own a property near Wagga Wagga, and they recently discovered a Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus) nesting near their house, and invited my parents and I out to see it.

I’ve never seen a Rainbow Bee-eater in person before, so I leapt at the chance, and was not disappointed. We saw the bee-eater flying around and snapping up insects, and it very kindly perched for a few minutes on a tree branch so I could get some photos.

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My uncle also showed us two nest holes in the ground nearby, where it has been living. Rainbow Bee-eaters nest in small tunnels dug into the soil, and often form little colonies in river banks and quarry walls. This bee-eater seemed to be living by itself, however, and the tunnel entries were in the ground underfoot. My aunt and uncle have seen the bird emerging directly from the holes though, so they’re pretty certain that’s where it’s nesting.

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2 thoughts on “Rainbow Bee-eater – Wagga Wagga

  1. A.M. Valenza November 21, 2016 / 3:03 am

    Whoa, like, I’ve never heard of a bird nesting underground. I’m trying to wrack my brain, but, nope, def have never heard of that before! *o* It looks like a hummingbird too! Admittedly, I have no idea how hummingbirds nest, so… if it’s related, then whoops.

    *adds new bird to bird-story*

    Liked by 1 person

    • riverinawildlife November 21, 2016 / 8:39 pm

      I think hummingbirds build ‘normal’ nests up in trees, but I don’t know a lot about them, we don’t have any in Australia; if I ever go somewhere that has them I’d so love to see one. I don’t think Bee-eaters and hummingbirds are related, but I’d need to look that up.

      I have heard of other birds that nest in the ground, or in earth banks/termite mounds, but not many species, and it’s not generally the sort of place you think of when you think about birds nesting. I guess it’s one of those ‘life finds a way’ things – nowhere else available to live? Dig a tunnel in the ground! I suppose finding a nesting hollow becomes a lot easier if you can just dig your own.

      Liked by 1 person

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