About European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) Danube Delta
The European bee-eater (Meropsapiaster) is an exotic species present in the European bird population. Regionally it is called 'Albinărel' and it is relatively small sized.
The dominant colours in its plumage are green, turquoise and yellow. The bee-eater has a long and slightly arched beak.
It comes in the Danube's Delta at the end of April and it leaves during the middle of September towards wintering areas. The European bee-eater is common in the limitrophe area of the Danube Delta's Biosphere Reservation.
It nests in colonies with up to 100 specimens. In order to build its nest, the bee-eater searches steep walls, with heights of 7 to 10 m, in which it horizontally excavates a 1 to 3 m deep gallery.
The European bee-eater feeds on various insects, but it prefers bees. The bird is immune to bee stings. During droughts it can decimate entire swarms.
The nuptial ritual is accompanied by melodious trills and elegant movements and it is truly spectacular. A pair is created when the female accepts the male's gift: a dragon-fly. In the last chamber of the nest, the bee-eater lays 5 or 6 eggs. The eggs are incubated by both partners. After hatching, the nestlings are fed in the nest's hearth and after they advance in the gallery, where they take turns in receiving insects from their parents.
It is a master of flying and it has few natural enemies. It is vulnerable in front of snakes and when it ingests pesticide covered insects.
Also, the eggs of this species are endangered by human excavations in clay walls, where the bird builds its nest.