Appearance The Blue-cheeked Bee-eater is a medium-sized bird, 12" (30cm), bright, grass green above and duller green underparts. Its white-ish forehead merges with pale blue above the eyes and black mask through its eye-line. Its cheeks vary from pale blue, to green or white. A yellow chin (sometimes upper throat, too), merges with a russet coloured throat. The underside of its wings are a copper colour. A very long tail, with two distinct strands. It is similar to the Madagascar Bee-eater, which has a brown crown (not green) and no blue on the cheeks.
Habits Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters nest in colonies, usually in sandy banks, inside a long tunnel which it digs itself. At the end, is a hollowed out nesting area. It is a gregarious bird and often found in the company of other Bee-eaters.
Diet Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters hawk bees and other insects, including wasps, dragonflies, hornets, cicada, beetles and locusts. They perch on the branch of a tree with good all-round vision and pounce on insects as they pass.
Resident Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters are migratory, only seen in Kenya between late October to early April. It visits Lake Victoria, Lake Baringo and Lake Jipe. Also seen amongst the mangroves on the lower Tana River and some coastal creeks.
Extra Facts Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters breed from April to June, visiting North Africa and South Asia, from Morocco to East Kazakhstan.