The Bee-eaters are a beautifully coloured Old World family of birds that sit out on prominent perches watching for insects to prey upon.

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This Green Bee-eater, Merops Orientalis, was seen at the Pivot Fields in Dubai where it was perched on a sprinkler head and was constantly looking out for something to eat.

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Bees are eaten, as you might imagine, but so are most other flying insects including dragonflies, beetles and butterflies. Insects crawling on the ground are not safe as the bird will swoop down and pick them up from there.

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This one caught a butterly and flew on to a nylon cord strung between two small palm trees. Here, it thrashed the butterfly against the cord before throwing it up into the air and catching it again.

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The bee-eater was trying to get the insect into a better position so that it could be swallowed more easily. In the photo, you might be able to see the wing scales thrashed from the butterfly.

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After a couple of attempts, the bird worked the butterfly into a favourable position and swallowed it down.

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To my great shame, I failed to give the butterfly much credit for its contribution to the piece. Thank you to Ashwin Baindur for his comment pointing out that the butterfly is a Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui

If you liked this post and want to see more great images of birds make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.