Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Merops persicus

The Blue-cheeked Bee-eater visits South Africa during our summer months after migrating from their breeding grounds stretching from North Africa to central Asia, arriving from October and departing again by April, some stay as late as May. Locally, most Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters head for the north-coast of Kwazulu-Natal and locations in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, but individuals occasionally pop-up in other parts of the country as well.

While here these insectivorous birds (they have a preference for dragonflies caught in flight) inhabit moist savannas, wooded grasslands and swamps. They’re quite gregarious and usually encountered in small flocks of around 20 with individuals roosting tightly together. Adults weigh around 50g and measure approximately 30cm in length.

The IUCN considers the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater to be of least concern.

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