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Topic : Rare Birds

Article 5 bullet 06 December 2006

Böhm’s Bee-eater

by Hugh Chittenden

Böhm’s Bee-eater Merops boehmi is one of the most geographically restricted bee-eater species on the African continent.

Bohms Bee-eater Bohms Bee-eater nest site

Historically, the core of the population was probably centered on the Shire River valley system in Malawi but extensive habitat degradation of riverine thickets and increased human disturbance has now left the bulk of the population confined to the conserved areas of Liwonde and Lengwe National Parks.

Dragonfly prey

Habitat preferences

Usually found in riparian habitats adjacent permanent water bodies.

horsefly prey


The bulk of their diet is made up of Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), with honeybees (Apis) making up about 20% of their insect diet. Other prey includes flies, beetles, butterflies, cicadas and grasshoppers.

Mayfly prey


Unlike most bee-eaters, breeding cavities are excavated on flat, or nearly flat ground. Neat tunnels are dug at about a 45 degree angle into well drained (usually sandy) soils. These burrows are usually about 1 m long.




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