Nocturnal Bee-eaters

The European Bee-eater Merops Apiaster is a common bird in this area of Spain, spending From April to September here. Bee-eater_withbee_28apr2011(ST)We saw them up to September 17th last year.

Last night I was sitting at the laptop reading when I started hearing bee-eaters! It was pitch black outside,  23:30 local time, and the sun had set about 3 hours previously. There was no Moon. I grabbed my sound recorder and went outside. I could not see any birds, as it was really dark, although I did see something moving below the street lights, but it was probably bats. It was obvious that there was a flock of many birds moving around.

I have never heard bee-eaters at night previously in the 15 years we have lived in Spain. If you want to hear what they sound like in the silence of night time, listen here.

2 replies on “Nocturnal Bee-eaters”

The exact same thing just happened at my parents’ house near Madrid.

We were sitting at the veranda at 12:00 am and a group of bee-eaters started flying around!

I was looking for information about this and your blog entry is the only thing I found. It is the first time I have heard bee-eaters flying at night!

It was suggested by the Iberia nature forum that bee-eaters can migrate at night, July in Madrid doesn’t seem to fit the migration criterion, however recent high temperatures may have changed their behaviour. It does sound strange to hear the unmistakable trill in the dark. Thanks for your comments.