The Bustard and the Bee-eater



The Bustard and the Bee-eater

Written by Kevin McLean

That is BirdNote.

The Kori Bustard struts throughout the savannahs of Japanese and Southern Africa. Its crested head sits on high of an extended neck and stilted legs. With males standing as much as 4 ft tall and weighing 40 kilos or extra, Kori Bustards are one of many heaviest birds on the earth that may nonetheless fly… although it takes some effort.

[Kori Bustard taking flight, ML31373311]

Look intently and also you’ll see that this winged big has a colourful companion. A small hen known as the Carmine Bee-eater perches on the bustard’s again. It has a superb crimson physique with blue accents on its head and tail. 

[Northern Carmine Bee-eater, XC267535, 0:00-0:10]

True to its identify, the bee-eater eats loads of bees and wasps, crushing them in its beak to keep away from getting stung, then squeezing the venom out on a tough floor earlier than swallowing it complete.

[Northern Carmine Bee-eater and bee sounds, XC300471, 0:02-0:12]

The Kori Bustard and the Carmine Bee-eater have a symbiotic relationship the place no less than considered one of them advantages. Whereas the bustard searches for lizards, rodents, and different prey, it kicks up smaller bugs that the bee-eater snatches up. From the air, the bee-eater might be waiting for predators to warn the bustard when it’s time to take to the sky. 

[Kori Bustard taking flight]

But it surely’s doable that the bee-eater is grabbing a free journey and the bustard simply isn’t bothered.

For BirdNote, I’m Kevin McLean.


Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content material Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds offered by The Macaulay Library of Pure Sounds on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Kori Bustard ML31373311 recorded by A. Spencer, Northern Carmine Bee-eater Xeno Canto 267535 recorded by A. Spencer, and Northern Carmine Bee-eater Xeno Canto 300471 recorded by P. Boesman.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and performed by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote   June 2022        Narrator: ​​Kevin McLean

ID# KORBUS-NCBEAT-01-2022-06-27        KORBUS-NCBEAT-01

Mikula, P., & Tryjanowski, P. (2016). Web looking out of bird-bird associations: A case of bee-eaters hitchhiking massive African birds. Biodiversity Observations, 7, 1–6.
Grzegorz Kopij (2018) Food plan of sympatrically breeding Southern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicoides and White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides, Ostrich, 89:2, 191-194. (PDF)
Bible, J. 2007. “Ardeotis kori” (On-line), Animal Variety Net.
Carmine Bee-Eaters (Merops nubicus & M. nubicoides) Reality Sheet. c2010-2018. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance


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