Rainbow Bee-Eater – amazing acrobatic hunter that is born underground

Rainbow Bee Eater pair

Rainbow Bee-Eater is a tiny, colourful bird with a long curved bill and long tail. It has a golden crown and red eyes sitting on a black horizontal stripe.

Rainbow Bee Eater eats bees, but also wasps, beetles, butterflies, and other small insects are on their diet. It is the only bee-eater in Australia.

They can be quite similar to kingfishers, but these are plumpers with a strong beak and they never catch prey in the fly.

They catch flying insects on the wing and carry them to the perch. What is interesting about the rainbow bee-eater is they remove the stings and squeeze out the venom by rubbing against the perch before eating venomous bees and wasps. 

Rainbow Bee-Eater habitat

Rainbow Bee Eaters are most often found in open forests, woodlands, and often near rivers. They look spectacular with their green, blue and yellow colours. Especially in the late afternoon, they are beautiful when golden sunlight makes them glow. 

Rainbow Bee-Eater distribution

Except with deserts, Rainbow Bee Eater can be found in Australia mainland, but also in Indonesia, New Guinea and occasionally Salomon Islands.

Rainbow Bee-Eater breeding

Rainbow bee eater breeds underground. Normally they dig an average 90 cm tunnel in a sandy riverbank that leads to a nest. Both parents incubate the eggs and also they feed them together.

Are Rainbow Bee-Eaters endangered?

Currently, the population of bee-eaters is stable and these common birds you can find in the wild. They are not listed as endangered species.

Rainbow Bee-Eater timespan

Bee eaters are monogamous birds and can live up to 6 years.

Our encounters

We often spot this bird next to our house in Brisbane, in the creek area. Taking a good photo of this bird is a challenge as it is very small and fast.

Have a look at sandy riverbanks and maybe you will spot one of these colourful birds.

Where spotted: Pine Creek, Kakadu National Park, Brisbane

Rainbow Bee Eater – more information


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