Geographical Range Sub-Saharan Africa
Habitat Open woodlands, savannas, arid acacia steppe, grasslands
Scientific Name Merops nubicus nubicus
Conservation Status Common

These colorful birds live in colonies of up to 1,000 members. As their name suggests, their favorite foods are bees and wasps. They manage to eat them by rubbing the insects against a perch to squeeze out the venom, then swallowing them whole.

They sometimes feed on other insects as they fly high in the African sky, and they make use of any opportunity they can to catch insects on the ground. Some birds ride on the backs of large mammals or fly next to moving vehicles, catching the insects that are flushed into the open. They are also attracted to brushfires, another opportunity to seize escaping insects.

Carmine bee-eaters nest in deep holes dug into stream banks and steep earthen cliffs. The female lays two to five eggs at the end of these nest burrows.