Bluecheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus) is a Palearctic migrant breed in Eurasia/South Asia and North Africa. This little cute bird spends the nonbreeding season in the tropics and sub- tropics of sub-Saharan Africa. The subspecies (M. p. chrysocercus) breeds on the fringes of the Western Sahara and migrates to West Africa, whereas persicus breeds from the Nile Delta to the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan.
The nominate race spends the non-breeding season in savanna habitats from southern Sudan and Ethiopia to sub-near Cape Town for a period of three months. Vagrants of this highly mobile species may occur anywhere in the African region. The blue-cheeked bee-eater is a brightly colored bird found in open habitats in Africa/Asia and Arabia. They are about 15 cm long and have a long tail. Blue-cheeked bee-eaters are known for their aerial antics. They often fly high above tree tops in search of insects. When they spot a meal, they dive down at lightning speed to snatch it up.
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater is colorful slender bird of desert edge in the breeding areas; it prefers to hunt over or near water in southern Africa. By far the highest reporting rates were in the arid woodland regions of the Okavango, and the Makgadikgadi Pans area of the Northern Kalahari. Large numbers occur in the Okavango Delta and on the Chobe, Kavango, Zambezi and Kunene rivers in Botswana, northeastem Namibia, and western Zimbabwe.
Movement: Arrival is fast and synchronized throughout the region, beginning in mid-October and peaking in early November. Departure is also synchronized over the region from late March, but mostly during April, with some birds staying into May. There are no confirmed records from the region during the austral winter. Blue-cheeked bee-eaters live in groups of 2 to 20 birds. They nest in holes in trees or rocks.
lnterspecific relationships: Blue-cheeked bee-eater is passerine bird in the family, Meropidae. Its range overlaps partially with all seven other bee-eaters in southern Africa. It is most likely to compete with Olive, Carmine M. nubicoides and Whitefronted M. bullockoides Bee-eaters, which also prefer riparian habitat. These species often occur together near larger rivers and swamps when feeding on flying insects. Contact with the European Bee-eater, which prefers dry woodland, is less frequent.
Historical distribution and conservation:
The range does not seem to have changed, but that a population concentration is present in northern and eastern Botswana and the Caprivi is new information. The secondary concentration in the upper Limpopo River catchment benefits from artificial wetlands such as dams and sewage works. The Blue-cheeked Bee-eater is widespread and common and is not known to be under any particular threat while in the region.
So, far two subspecies are recognized:
The birds have a very short lifespan and only live for 3 years. They breed from January to March.
Its main food is ants but it can also eat termites, beetles, caterpillars and many others. They eat mainly insects, which they catch in the air.