Western Isles
 Western Isles of Scotland


Recent bird sightings
Bird Photographs
Notes: A - Z Index
Notes: Taxonomic Index
Outer Hebrides Checklist
Useful contacts
Archived Sightings
Wildlife Garden
Bird ringing in Lewis

Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Bee-eater




European Bee-eater

Merops apiaster

Photography © Martin Scott
Breasclete - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
April 25th, 2011

"It was around Breasclate School and Hall, but also venturing down the road to Callanish going ‘inland’ as well as far as the Gift Shop. It was still around at 6pm at least.

Probably the second for the Hebrides with one a couple of years ago moving through the island chain from Barra to Dalbeg..."

Read More of Martin's Blog


  • Bee-eater (AKA European Bee-eater)
  • Merops apiaster
  • UK: Scarce visitor 38 records a year ( BTO ) has bred
  • WI: Very rare visitor Two records.
  • Breeds: southern Europe and in parts of north Africa and western Asia. Nests in colonies. Nests in a deepish tunnel in a sandy bank, usually near a river (start of May). Lays 5-8, spherical white eggs (start of June). Both parents tend the eggs, which are brooded for approx 3 weeks.
  • Winters: Tropical Africa, India, Sri Lanka
  • Habitat: Open country, woodland, farmland
  • Diet: Flying insects, mostly bees & wasps, these are rubbed against perch or repeatedly hit on a hard surface to remove stings. Also eat lizards & frogs
  • Richly-coloured, slender. Length of 27–29 cm, including the two long central tail feathers. Brown & yellow upper parts, green wings, beak black. Sexes alike. Gregarious, breeding, feeding and roosting communally.
  • Call is a trill


Bee-eaters catch around 225 bees a day
when they are raising their young.




Bee-eater records in the Western Isles

Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC


The chart below shows how abundant the Bee-eater is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.
















Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

back to page top

Home Contact Webmaster

Copyright © 2010 Western Isles Netspace.  User Agreement and Privacy policy