Rainbow Bee Eaters

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
schulzzz's picture
Rainbow Bee Eaters

 Do Rainbow Bee Eaters have separate breeding/social groupings?

With high banks sloping steeply up to surrounding forests, the Goulburn River is home to a healthy population of RBEs. 

A recent three day scenario: breeding pairs are repeatedly catching prey in flight, dropping to a low perch and from there into their burrows, then erupting in a flash of green & yellow to resume the hunt.  This routine isn’t even disrupted by distractions such as campsite tarps flapping wildly less than 10m away.

Same place, next day no birds are visiting the burrows despite a flock of 15-20 of the iridescent darts hunting above the river.  On catching insects these RBEs land in the tops of trees before moving along the river as a group, returning periodically presumably in parallel with their prey.

Same place, third day, there is no sign of the RBE flock of yesterday and one breeding pair is back, visiting their burrow every 3-6 minutes. This time the birds are hunting from perches rather than in flight.

Could the breeding pairs have been refraining from feeding their young on day two so that they didn’t betray the burrow locations to the flock members?  It’s possible they were biding their time but the intensity of their feeding efforts when the flock was absent would seem to belie this.

pacman's picture


an interesting observation, sorry but I cannot help


 and   @birdsinbackyards
                 Subscribe to me on YouTube