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 European Bee-eater  (Merops apiaster)


  Status and distribution Fairly common summer visitor to the south & east of the Region. Breeds over much of Iberia (except northcoast), in southern France and parts of Italy, and from the eastern Adriatic to the Black and Caspian Seas. In Russia breeds north to about 57°N. Found throughout Turkey and the Caucasus, in northern Iraq and in scattered parts of the Middle East. In the Mediterranean breeds on the Balearics, Corsica and Sardinia, Crete and Cyprus. In North Africa breeds widely across the north-west.

Leaves breeding grounds in Aug-Sep to winter in sub-Saharan Africa, returning Apr-May. Occurs on passage throughout southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, regular in small numbers on the Canary Is.

Frequently overshoots on spring migration and rare but annual visitor north to Britain, the North Sea countries and Scandinavia. Has bred in Britain, Scandinavia, Poland and the Canary Is and the first breeding for Switzerland was recorded in 1991. Vagrants recorded on Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde Is. A rare migrant in Britain with under 40 records in most years, the majority in southern England but also recorded north to Shetland.

Habitat Open country with scattered trees, edges and clearings in light woodland, commonly along riverbanks and in vineyards and other cultivated areas. Nests colonially in tunnels in sand or earth banks.

 Source: Internet
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