What are the birds that eat bees?

In this short article, we will answer the question “What are the birds that eat bees?” and will share contextual information about each one of them.

Bees, despite their formidable defences, are a common food source for some birds. 

Bee-eating birds would be considered insectivores, or species that eat insects, however, many may just fall somewhere in the middle, using bugs as a seasonal or opportunistic addition to a varied diet.

What are the birds that eat bees?

Some birds that eat bees are:

  • Northern waterthrush
  • Old World Bee-eaters.
  • Olive-winged flycatcher
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Let’s learn about them now:

Northern waterthrush

In the summer, the northern thrush, for instance, eats bees as part of its insect-heavy diet; in the fall and winter, this vocal mimic shifts to fruit.

The common thrush uses a stone as an anvil to split snails’ shells and is an omnivore, eating a range of invertebrates, berries, and drupes. The upper body and head of both sexes are brown, which contrasts with the cream or leather lower body with black markings. 

Males have a wide variety of vocalizations, including recognizable musical motifs that are repeated repeatedly. This species builds cup-shaped nests out of grass and mud in trees and bushes to make its homes in forests, gardens, and parks.

It is not regarded as being globally threatened because it has a wide geographic range and a large worldwide population while being in decline in Europe. The thrush is frequently mentioned in literature and popular culture about the males’ lyrical song.

Old World Bee-eaters.

The Old World bee-eaters are most likely the best-known bird bee hunters. These vibrantly coloured, long-beaked birds catch insects like bees and wasps on their wings. One’s favourite delicacy maybe bees. 

An analysis of 20 studies on 16 species of bee-eaters revealed that bees were the most common prey for birds, accounting for 20-96 per cent of their diets. Ancient authors like Aristotle and Virgil noted bee-eaters and recommended beekeepers kill the birds. 

Aristotle was aware that bee-eaters built their nests at the ends of tunnels that may reach a length of two meters. Based on real assistance observed in the nest by related birds, he claimed that the nesting parents were fed by their offspring. 

Greek mythology describes the Theban Botres, who was struck dead by his father for profaning the traditional sacrifice of a ram to the god Apollo. He was mercifully transformed into a bee-eater by the god. 

Ancient Egyptians thought bee-eaters had therapeutic qualities and recommended applying bee fat to ward off stinging insects and treating eyes with smoke from bees’ feet to heal an unidentified feminine malady.

Hinduism held that the shape of the bird in flight resembled a bow and that its long beak served as an arrow. As a result, the name was given the Sanskrit meaning “bow of Vishnu” and was connected to archer gods. 

Because of the figurative venom that scandal traffickers carried in their mouths, it was thought that they would reincarnate as bee eaters. Such amazing birds are hardly depicted in classical art. Olive-winged flycatcher

Olive-winged flycatcher

Some birds in North America are equally effective in catching bees. Olive-winged flycatchers and bee eaters both gather insects in flight, whereas summer tanagers do the same both in their northern habitat and in their wintering grounds in Central and South America.

It weighs between 7.2 and 8 grams and is between 9.5 and 10 centimeters long. Its mantle, wings, rump, and tail are all the same shade of olive green. There is a tiny, inconspicuous yellow patch on the border of the wing. 

There is a prominent light loral mark on the face. The chest, belly, chris, and throat are all white or yellowish-white in color. It is a little bird with a light-colored iris. This species’ juveniles have darker eyes and more golden plumage.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are well known for eating on the nectar of flowering plants, but they also occasionally catch other insects, including little bees that may be present near the same food source.

Ruby hummingbirds have territorial behavior. In other words, it forbids other insects or birds from getting close to its food sources.


In this short article, we answered the question “What are the birds that eat bees?” and shared contextual information about each one of them.




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