Carmine bee-eaters are some of Africa’s most dazzling birds. With their vibrant plumage, extraordinary aerial acrobatics and tendency to group together, they make for delightful birdwatching that thrills even the least enthusiastic birder. These seasonal migrants arrive into Zambia’s South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks in September and stay through November, when they make their way back to the lush forests of Central Africa. They are drawn to Zambia thanks to the wide availability of exposed riverbanks during the dry months, which make for the ideal site to build their nests. They tunnel into the vertical banks to build their burrows, living in large, social colonies. By using these banks, they create a safe haven in which to lay their eggs and raise their young.
These remarkable birds have become quite the draw thanks to the visual wonders they create, but there is so much more to them. Read on to learn more about their fascinating biology.