Rainbow Bee-eater

Merops ornatus

The brightly coloured Rainbow Bee-eater is another summer breeding migrant. They build their nests at the end of metre-long tunnels dug into sandbanks or ridges that are generally only found along rivers outside the city area. They use their highly developed aerobatic skills to feed on the wing, capturing mainly wasps and bees, but also other flying insects.

Bee-eaters have been reported from September to April though numbers peak in October and a much higher peak is seen in March – clearly these peaks are due to the birds passing through Canberra heading for rivers and woodland. Although a most attractive bird, it is not easily seen on the move. Flocks tend to fly high and are best located by calls. Inner suburban stop-offs are infrequent although in one summer many were reported from the Woden cemetery.  R=99. BR=79.

Click for call