Wild Wonders of Europe > Biodiversity > Bee Eaters (18) More files...
The European bee-eater is undoubtedly one of the most colourful and spectacular birds in Europe. A summer migrant, the bee-eater returns each spring to breed in colonies dug out of sandy and muddy banks across southern Europe, feeding on bees, butterflies, dragonflies and other flying insects. Widespread in the Mediterranean, the bee-eater has also bred in recent years in Britain and Sweden, and is a regular "overshoot migrant" to northern Europe, causing much excitement in the birdwatching community.


Photographers Grzegorz Lesniewski, Dietmar Nill and Markus Varesvuo captured these striking images in Hungary, Bulgaria and the Crimea region of Ukraine for Wild Wonders.
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) perched beside Poppy flower, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) perched beside Poppy flower, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) vocalising, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) vocalising, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) in flight, Bulgaria, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Nill
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Nill / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) in flight, Bulgaria, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) catching bumblebee in beak, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008. WWE BOOK. WWE OUTDOOR EXHIBITION *PRESS IMAGE. Magic Moments book plate.  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) catching bumblebee in beak, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008. WWE BOOK. WWE OUTDOOR EXHIBITION *PRESS IMAGE. Magic Moments book plate.
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair perched, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair perched, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair, male passing Dragonfly prey to female, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair, male passing Dragonfly prey to female, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) in flight, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) in flight, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair, male displaying, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair, male displaying, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair in courtship display, Bulgaria, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Nill
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Nill / European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) pair in courtship display, Bulgaria, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) perched with wings extended, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) perched with wings extended, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) with butterfly prey in his beak, Bulgaria, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Nill
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Nill / European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) with butterfly prey in his beak, Bulgaria, May 2008
European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) in flight, Bulgaria, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Nill
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Nill / European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) in flight, Bulgaria, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) with Dragonfly prey, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008. Magic Moments book plate.  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) with Dragonfly prey, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008. Magic Moments book plate.
Four European bee eaters (Merops apiaster) perched on branch with food in breeding colony, Bagerova Steppe, Kerch Peninsula, Crimea, Ukraine, July 2009  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Lesniewski
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Lesniewski / Four European bee eaters (Merops apiaster) perched on branch with food in breeding colony, Bagerova Steppe, Kerch Peninsula, Crimea, Ukraine, July 2009
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) emerging from nest hole in bank, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) emerging from nest hole in bank, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) digging out nest hole in sandy bank, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) digging out nest hole in sandy bank, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) flying to nest hole in bank, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008  -  Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Varesvuo / European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) flying to nest hole in bank, Pusztaszer, Hungary, May 2008