How the African bee-eater survives in times of drought?


Two African bee-eater during drought times.


Cooperation for survival


Meet Africa’s white-fronted bee-eater, a bird that catches insects, including bees, while on the wing.

This colorful little creature is also known for its selfless traits.

Instead of nesting in a tree, it digs in a sandbank and makes a nest chamber at the end of a long tunnel, where the female lays her eggs.

When these hatch, other bee-eaters cooperate, assisting the parents in providing food for the chicks.

These willing helpers are often youngsters from a previous brood, but they also include birds who are unrelated.

When food is scarce, as in times of drought, the number of assistant bee-eaters has been observed to increase.

Sinclair and Mendelsohn in the book Everyone’s Guide to South African Birds states:

“Even in the non-breeding season, this species usually associates in small groups, and at night, large numbers may roost communally in trees”—which is one more proof that ‘birds of a feather do flock together.’"