It has been suggested that riverine loess deposits that do not crumble when excavated may be favoured by the larger bee-eaters. Prey that lands on the ground or on plants is usually not pursued. Many species are colonial in the breeding season and some species are also highly gregarious when not nesting. The bill can bite strongly, particularly at the tip, and it is used as a pair of forceps with which to snatch insects from the air and crush smaller prey. Bee-Eater Birds. Bee-eaters may be killed by raptors; their nests are raided by rodents and snakes, and they can carry various parasites. Like adding a location. [5] There may be instances where bee-eaters are sexually dichromatic at the ultraviolet part of the colour spectrum, which humans cannot see. There are close relationships within this genus, for example the red-throated bee-eater and the white-fronted bee-eater form a superspecies, but formerly suggested genera, such as Aerops, Melittophagus, Bombylonax and Dicrocercus,[10] have not been generally accepted for several decades since a 1969 paper united them in the current arrangement.[5][11]. But they remove the stings and squeeze out the venom first. [26], Bee-eaters are monogamous during a nesting season, and in sedentary species, pairs may stay together for multiple years. [16], The bills of bee-eaters are curved, long and end in a sharp point. The name, now modernised as Meropidae, is derived from Merops, the Ancient Greek for "bee-eater", and the English term "bee-eater" was first recorded in 1668, referring to the European species. [5], Prey can be spotted from a distance; European bee-eaters are able to spot a bee 60 metres (200 ft) away, and blue-cheeked bee-eaters have been observed flying out 100 metres (330 ft) to catch large wasps. [41], Fly larvae of the genus Fannia live in the nests of at least European bee-eaters, and feed on faeces and food remains. They seize them after short dashes and taking the insects back to the perch to eat. [42], The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assesses species vulnerability in terms of total population and the rate of any population decline. These include sunning themselves, dust bathing and water bathing. [5], Bee-eaters are fairly indiscriminate in their choice of habitat. A bumblebee usually has a stinger on its tail, which is what it uses to protect itself when it is in danger. [5], Bee-eaters were mentioned by ancient writers such as Aristotle and Virgil, who both advised beekeepers to kill the birds. The bee-eaters are a group of near-passerine birds in the suborder Meropi and family Meropidae. None of the bee-eaters meet the IUCN vulnerability criteria, and all are therefore evaluated as "Least-concern species". The eggs are white, with typically five to the clutch. Six other species are also closely associated with rainforest, but occur in edge habitat such as along rivers, in tree-fall gaps, off trees overhanging ravines or on emergent tree crowns above the main canopy. [6] Opinions vary as to the bee-eater's nearest relatives. Their "butterfly display" involves both members of a pair performing a gliding display flight with shallow wing-beats; they then perch facing each other, raising and folding their wings while calling. [5], Bee-eaters consume a wide range of insects; beyond a few distasteful butterflies they consume almost any insect from tiny Drosophila flies to large beetles and dragonflies. Most bee-eaters are gregarious. 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