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This information provided by Wikipedia.com The Free Encyclopedia.

 

Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the super family Apoidea, presently considered as a clade Anthophila. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families,[1] though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.

Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used as food for larvae.

Bees have a long proboscis (a complex “tongue”) that enables them to obtain the nectar from flowers. They have antennae almost universally made up of 13 segments in males and 12 in females, as is typical for the super family. Bees all have two pairs of wings, the hind pair being the smaller of the two; in a very few species, one sex or caste has relatively short wings that make flight difficult or impossible, but none are wingless.

Tiny bee stingless bee species exist whose workers are less than 2 mm (0.079 in) long.[2] The largest bee in the world is Megachile pluto, a leafcutter bee whose females can attain a length of 39 mm (1.5″). Members of the family Halictidae, or sweat bees, are the most common type of bee in the Northern Hemisphere, though they are small and often mistaken for wasps or flies.

The best-known bee species is the European honey bee, which, as its name suggests, produces honey, as do a few other types of bee. Human management of this species is known as beekeeping or apiculture.

Bees are the favorite meal of Merops apiaster, the bee-eater bird. Other common predators are kingbirds, mockingbirds, beewolves, and dragonflies.

 

 

European Bee Eater Bird

Main Characteristics                                                        240px-European_bee_eater

European Bee-Eaters are one of Europe’s most colorful birds and they are one of the most aerial of all Bee-Eater species. They have a body length of around 30 cm (12 inches), a wingspan of 46 cms (18 inches) and they weigh approximately 70g (2.5 oz).

They are a slender bird with yellow and brown upper parts, blueish-green underparts and a black, sharply pointed beak. They have two elongated central tail feathers and both sexes are alike.

They are a gregarious species and they feed and roost communally. They also have a very distinctive call, it is a pleasant trill.

Habitat

European Bee-Eaters are found in open country, woodland and farmland in Europe, Africa and Asia. During the day they can often be see perched on telegraph wire, fences or branches.

They are a migratory species and they spend the winter months in sub-saharan African and western India. During the spring they move to north Africa, Europe and Asia to breed.

Diet

European Bee-Eaters mainly feed on stinging insects like bees and wasps. They capture them in flight then remove their sting by rapidly rubbing them on their perch. They eat around 250 insects each day.

Breeding

European Bee-Eaters breed in colonies and they make their nests in sandy banks, usually near a river. Their nest is a relatively long tunnel and they lay 5 – 8 white, spherical eggs. Both the male and female incubate the eggs and after about 20 days they hatch.

Predators

Predators of European Bee-Eaters include snakes and larger birds.

Subspecies

There are no subspecies of the European Bee-Eater

Interesting Facts

European Bee-Eaters are also known as:
Bee-Eater

Egg size: 2.6 x 2.2 cms (1.02 x 0.87 inches)
Egg Weight: 6.5g (0.23 oz) – of which 6% is shell.