Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Carmine Bee-eater, Bee-eater, Merops nubicus, Arabian Bustard, Ardeotis arabs, bustard, ethiopia, bird

(Northern) Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus) and Arabian Bustard (Ardeotis arabs)

A few years ago now I travelled around Ethiopia in the good company of my friend David Fisher and our excellent guide, Merid Gabremichael. Whilst visiting Awash national park we witnessed a fascinating interaction between Carmine Bee-eaters, Merops nubicus, (split by some authorities into 2 species, Northern and Southern Carmine Bee-eaters) and an Arabian Bustard (Ardeotis arabs).

We watched as the bee-eater ‘dive-bombed’ the bustard, swooping low over it’s head, making the much larger bird duck several times. However, the bustard didn’t seem too annoyed by this behaviour. Eventually we realised what the bee-eater was trying to do, it wanted to hitch a ride! Finally managing to land safely on the bustard’s back, they happily trotted off together. I’m not sure what benefit the bustard got out of this arrangement, but it didn’t seem to mind!

Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Carmine Bee-eater, Bee-eater, Merops nubicus, Arabian Bustard, Ardeotis arabs, bustard, ethiopia, bird

(Northern) Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus) and Arabian Bustard (Ardeotis arabs)

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