Do Birds Eat Bees? All You Need To Know

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Bees are mostly eaten by certain bird species, such as bee-eaters, and summer and scarlet tanagers, but bees are also sometimes consumed by honey buzzards and purple martins, who eat bees as adults or larvae.
Methods of Catching: Bee-eating birds use unique hunting techniques to capture the insects in midair or from trees. For example, bee-eaters remove stingers and poisons from bees before consuming them, using their large, curved beaks to render them unconscious.
Specialized Bee-Eaters: The 22 bee-eater species that make up the Meropidae family are expert bee hunters. Distinguished by their colorful plumage and chatty disposition, they usually nest in burrows and utilize their beaks to successfully capture bees.
Bee Populations Are Not Serious Dangerous to Bee Populations: Although bee-eaters and honey buzzards are major bee predators, other predators such as bears, foxes, and badgers are more dangerous to bee populations because they may damage hives and devour honey.
It may surprise you to learn that any bird would choose to consume bee stingers as part of their diet, given that they are a part of their body. Let us now discuss what type of birds consume bees.

Bees are consumed by a wide variety of birds, some of which are specialized bee-eaters and others of which are opportunistic.

For instance, a significant portion of the diets of species like bee-eaters, summer tanagers, and scarlet tanagers will consist of them. On the other hand, other species, including the purple martin and honey buzzard, will only seldom consume them as adults or larvae.

A few other kinds of birds—about which we’ll talk in more depth below—will also consume bees.

How are bees caught by birds?

The difficulty of initially catching bees is another factor contributing to the low number of birds that eat them.

Bees may fly quickly and seldom travel in a straight path. Thus, in addition to having sufficient agility, birds also need to be able to determine the necessary angle and speed in order to capture bees.

When it comes to capturing bees, most people who consume bees will use the same technique. They’ll either swoop down and get the bee off a limb or glide and catch it while it’s flying.

After capturing the bee, they remove its stinger and poisons by hitting its head with their large, curved beaks before eating it.

The ultimate consumers of bees: Bee-eaters

The Meropidae family comprises 22 distinct species of bee-eaters, which are the ultimate bee consumers. Though most of these birds are found in Africa, the European Bee-eater is perhaps the most well-known.

Most bee-eaters have vivid plumage, may be quite noisy, and are social. In order to provide their eggs a safe and secure place to lay them, they dig holes in the ground for their nests. They grab, kill, and eat bees using their long, curved beaks, as was previously reported.

The Buzzard Honey

Should you reside in the United Kingdom, it’s possible that you have seen or heard of the Honey Buzzard. These massive raptors move to Africa for the winter after spending the summer in the United Kingdom. They have a long tail and wingspan, and their color is greyish-brown.

After mature bees return to their hives, honey buzzards will follow them and use their strong claws to break apart the nest. After completing this task, they will devour the larvae of wasps and bees, since they have a preference for consuming larvae over adult wasps and bees.

You may be wondering how they accomplish this without being stung by all the enraged bees. The honey buzzard, on the other hand, has unique feathers on its face and neck that serve as a kind of defense against wasps and bee stings.

Other birds that sometimes consume bees

The majority of birds are omnivores, meaning that they eat both plants and animals as well as insects.

Many additional bird species, including woodpeckers, mockingbirds, northern cardinals, orioles, swifts, and thrushes, may also sometimes consume bees in addition to the ones mentioned above. When the chance presents itself, woodpeckers will devour the bees after successfully identifying a hive.

But, because it requires less expertise to eat slower-moving insects like worms, caterpillars, and spiders than it does to capture bees, these birds considerably prefer to consume these insects.

Do birds pose a danger to bees?

Since birds and bees have coexisted for a long time, predatory birds do not directly threaten the bee population.

Birds have very little effect on the population when compared to other predators including bears, foxes, shrews, badgers, and rodents. In addition to eating the bees, these additional predators often damage the hive and eat the honey.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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