The Rainbow Beeeaters have arrived

Rainbow Bee-eater

Over the last few weeks the Rainbow Bee-eaters have be flying around our garden and mallee scrub. During the winter months they head north to warmer parts of the country, and every spring they head south for spring and summer.

It is always a delight when we hear them arrive. It’s a sure sign that spring has arrived. Almost every day for the last few weeks we’ve heard them around, or seen them overhead. Perhaps this year they will nest on our property like they did some years ago?

I find their nesting habit to be quite unusual. They make a short 30 – 40cm tunnel in a sandy spot and then construct a small nesting hollow at the end of the tunnel where they lay the eggs. Sometimes the burrow into the side of a road cutting, or the bank of a creek or river, providing the dirt is not too hard or compacted. I remember being fascinated by these birds as a child growing up on a farm in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia. That fascination has remained to this day.

Rainbow Bee-eater


16 Responses to “The Rainbow Beeeaters have arrived”

  1. Susan says:

    Interesting bird. Quite pretty and unusual-sounding with the way they build their nests. Love the name, too!

  2. Ground Nests says:

    Hi Trevor,

    Long-time reader, first time commenting.

    It’d be very interesting if in one of the future posts you can put up photos of the unusual burrowing nests that you wrote about.

    I’ve found some on Google, but not too many close-ups. And it’s also nice to see some by you.

    Looking forward to those and other pictures.

  3. Louise says:

    What an interesting and beautiful bird. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen one.

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Louise – if you spend most of your time in cities or large country towns it is unlikely you will see a Rainbow Bee eater. They are more dryland birds of the country areas, preferring roadside vegetation, open paddocks and creek bed areas.

  4. John Tongue says:

    Hi Trevor,
    Sadly, they don’t seemd to have learned to fly across Bass Strait!!

  5. Adrienne says:

    Hi Trevor

    we are fortunate enough this year to have bee eaters nesting in our front lawn in suburban Perth. They’ve dug a burrow next to the letter box, in Bassendean sands.

    I’ll post some photos of the burrow and birds on me little blog in the near future, but here is some unedited footage of them burrowing (next door is a house construction site and you can hear the angle grinder in the background).

  6. I managed to be at a breeding site some years ago. I would very much like to see them again. I assume the breeding has finished for this year!

  7. […] of my favourite Australian birds would have to be the Rainbow Bee-eater (click here for a photo). They are regular spring and summer visitors to our garden and even […]

  8. Ezana Getachew says:

    Hi, I really love to watch birds and I have some of their pictures I had taken around Zeway Ethiopia while I was working by the nearby Agricultural TVET college,I could I access it to the the web like the above ones with their names and location perhaps I could not identify all their names.

  9. Maria mc grath says:

    do bee eaters have more then one nesting hole,bee eaters turned
    up 19 oct 2013 canninton wa

    very happy to see them

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