Topic : Rare Birds
Article 5 06 December 2006
Böhm’s Bee-eater Merops boehmi is one of the most geographically restricted bee-eater species on the African continent.
Historically, the core of the population was probably centered on the Shire River valley system in Malawi but extensive habitat degradation of riverine thickets and increased human disturbance has now left the bulk of the population confined to the conserved areas of Liwonde and Lengwe National Parks.
Usually found in riparian habitats adjacent permanent water bodies.
The bulk of their diet is made up of Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), with honeybees (Apis) making up about 20% of their insect diet. Other prey includes flies, beetles, butterflies, cicadas and grasshoppers.
Unlike most bee-eaters, breeding cavities are excavated on flat, or nearly flat ground. Neat tunnels are dug at about a 45 degree angle into well drained (usually sandy) soils. These burrows are usually about 1 m long.