Bird Fact Friday – Southern Carmine Bee-eater

From page 97 of Birds of Kruger National Park:

The Southern Carmine Bee-eater is a large, spectacular, long, slender, carmine-pink and teal-blue bee-eater with a long, pointed tail and black bill and facial mask. Immatures are duller than adults and lack long tail feathers. It is a common non-breeding summer migrant (December–April) to Kruger, where it can gather in large groups and often attends bush fires to feed on fleeing insects.

A mature Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides). (Photo credit: Keith Barnes & Ken Behrens)

The “trik-trik-trik” or “ga-gaga” calls, sound more guttural than those of European Bee-eater. Although not a common behaviour, Southern Carmine Bee-eaters have been recorded sitting on the backs of antelopes or Kori Bustards, swooping out and catching insects that are flushed. It specializes in catching large flying insects, including termites, cicadas, dragonflies, butterflies and locusts and regurgitates pellets of indigestible insect remains.


Birds of Kruger National Park
Keith Barnes & Ken Behrens

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the largest and most iconic conservation areas in Africa. Habitats range from wide-open savannah and rugged thornveld to broadleaved mopani woodland. This microhabitat variation gives Kruger a phenomenal diversity of some 520 bird species, half of which are resident. From Africa’s most extraordinary eagles, like the scarlet-faced Bateleur, to electric-colored glossy-starlings and jewel-like finches, Kruger offers an avian celebration of form and color. It is also a crucial conservation area, supporting South Africa’s largest viable populations of vultures, eagles, and large terrestrial birds.

This field guide offers a unique window into the world of Kruger’s birds. More than 500 stunning color photographs illustrate the 259 most frequently encountered species, and a habitat-based approach assists in identification. The authoritative text provides key information about identification, habitat, behavior, biology, and conservation. The guide contains information likely to be new to even the most experienced birders, but is written in a nontechnical style that makes it accessible to anyone.

  • An essential guide to Kruger’s birds
  • Perfect for new and experienced birders alike
  • Small, portable format ideal for field use
  • Unique attractive layout with more than 500 stunning color photographs
  • Covers the 259 most frequently seen species
  • Uses a habitat-based approach to aid identification
  • Authoritative and accessible text provides key information about identification, behavior, biology, and conservation