White-throated Bee-eater



The white-throated bee-eater is a migratory bird that lives between two very different habitats. It breeds only in a narrow swath of arid, open country just below the Sahara Desert. The rest of the year is spent thousands of miles to the south, in clearings and along forest borders in the tropics. The white-throated bee-eater likes company. These social birds gather in flocks to roost, feed, and even to nest.


The white-throated bee-eater eats bees, wasps, and lots of flying ants. A talented hunter, it snags its prey mid-flight with its long, slender beak. To remove the venom from stinging insects, it beats its victim against a branch or on the ground. Other favorite foods include termites, beetles, butterflies, grasshoppers, spiders, and even small lizards.

Life Cycle

White-throated bee-eaters lay a single clutch of eggs once a year. A pair of birds will stay with each other for the entire breeding season, which lasts about two months. Together they dig a burrow 3–6 feet long using their bills and feet. The female lays the clutch of 5 or 6 eggs at the bottom of the tunnel. Pairs build their own nests, but large groups may nest in the same area. Adult siblings may help each other raise their young, which begin to venture out of the nest after two weeks. Bee-eaters can live up to 10 years.

Some of My Neighbors

Cross River gorilla, red colobus monkey, leopard, elephant, lion, buffalo, pygmy hippo, okapi

Population Status & Threats

The white-tailed bee-eater is generally widespread and not considered threatened.