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Rainbow Bee-eater
Merops ornatus

The Rainbow Bee-eater is the only species of this family seen in Australia, which they visit in the Southern summer from Asia. They are brightly coloured with ornate tail streamers (although not seen in these photos) and are 21-28 cm, including the tail. As the name suggests, they feed on bees and wasps, which they catch in the air while swooping from a perch. They hold them round the middle and then wipe the sting off on rough bark or stone. Their nests are tunnels dug into sand or earth banks, which are built by the females while the male brings insects for her to eat.
 

Rainbow Bee-eater

Rainbow Bee-eater

1-2: Cairns, Qld, 20/10/2010.