Do Birds Eat Bees? (List of Birds That Eat Bees?)

We all have seen birds eating apples, fruits, and insects. But not all of us have seen birds eating bees. You might have thought bees have a stinger to protect themselves from bird attacks. So, the question arises in mind, do birds eat bees?

Yes, birds eat bees, and there is a special category of bee-eating birds. Bees are the major portion of the diet for some bee-eating birds. The list of birds that eat bees is discussed below.

  1. Do Birds Like Eating Bees?
  2. How Do Birds Eat Bees?
  3. What Birds Eat Bees?
    1. European Bees Eater & Australian Bees Eaters
    2. Scarlet Tanagers & Summer Tanagers
    3. Other Bee Eating Birds
  4. Do Birds Eat Carpenter Bees?
  5. Do Birds Eat Honey Bees?
  6. Do Bees Sting Birds?
  7. Final Thought

Do Birds Like Eating Bees?

Birds eating behavior is not the same all the time. Birds are known to eat insects, but the question here is, do birds like bees?

do birds eat bees, can birds eat bees

The first thing here is that not all birds eat bees, and those birds who eat bees like to have them in their diet.

One of the most popular species of birds, known as European bee-eaters, likes to eat bees in its diet. Some popular birds love to eat different kinds of bees as their food.

Bees are very beneficial for birds as food and are a great source of proteins in every stage of their life. Also, the bee larvae are a healthier portion containing carbohydrates, fatty acids, and other nutrients.

How Do Birds Eat Bees?

Bee eating is a skill; not every bird has this skill, and most birds do not have this skill for hunting bees.

Skilled birds know how to remove the stingers before eating bees. Each bird has their ways of hunting bees, but there are two to three ways common in bee-eating birds.

Bee-eaters are very intelligent when it comes to prey. They usually sit on the high ground or at high places to see the complete view around them.

Once they spot the target, they will dive to catch their prey.
They usually prey when bees or insects are seated in a hard place or on the rocks. Firstly they will kill their prey if it is poisonous.

After killing the prey, they will remove the stinger and venom sac. This long process of hunting makes them one of the most intelligent birds.

They have amazing vision, and they can spot their prey from a distance of 250 to 350 feet, depending on the kind of bird.

What Birds Eat Bees?

Bee-eating birds are mostly seen in Asia, North Africa, and South Europe. Usually, they have a long beak in size that helps them during hunting for bees and insects.

There is a special category of bee-eating birds that consists of a total of 27 species. Below are some famous bee-eating birds.

European Bees Eater & Australian Bees Eaters

These birds are very popular for their skill with bees and wasps eating. They mostly prey on flying insects and bees. Also, some birds can eat wasps whenever they feel hungry.

They have great eyesight and vision for spotting their prey from a long distance ranging up to 250 feet. Bees and insects make up a huge portion of their diet.

Scarlet Tanagers & Summer Tanagers

Summer tanagers are capable of hunting bees, wasps, and insects in the air. Bees and wasps make up the major portion of summer tanagers’ diet, and they like to consume bees and wasps in both wintering grounds and breeding.

Scarlet tanagers are not known for having bees as their specific diet. Like summer tanagers, scarlet tanagers also enjoy eating bees and occasionally catch bees, wasps, and hornets for eating.

Other Bee Eating Birds

There are some birds that eat bees and insects but occasionally. These birds are listed below.

  • Honey-buzzard
  • Kingbirds
  • Swifts
  • Mockingbirds
  • Thrushes
  • Martins
  • Woodpeckers
  • Greater honeyguide

Do Birds Eat Carpenter Bees?

Carpenter birds do live in groups, as honey bees live in groups. This thing can make you think that birds can easily hunt carpenter bees.

But not all birds like them. European bee-eaters, Australian bee-eaters, and olive bee-eaters eat carpenter bees. Besides bee-eaters, shrikes, woodpeckers, and scarlet tanagers are known to eat carpenter birds occasionally.

Do Birds Eat Honey Bees?

Yes, birds eat honey bees, and they are one of the favorites of bee-eating birds. Bird eaters, summer tanagers, greater honeyguides, and honey buzzards enjoy eating honey bees.

Some of these birds also like to consume the larvae of honey bees. Honey bee are not an easy meal for birds, and that’s why many birds are afraid of eating.

Do Bees Sting Birds?

Birds are popular for their feeding behavior as omnivorous, and they do not usually prey. But some birds are popular for preying on bees and eating bees.

Sometimes bees can be turned into the cause of damage for those birds who eat bees. When birds try to hunt bees, bees sting birds and protect themselves from being preyed on by birds.

This attack for self-protection by bees may cause severe injuries and sometimes may lead to the death of birds. Honey bees are more capable of protecting themselves from birds attack.

They do not usually sting birds, but when they feel unsafe or threatened, they sting the birds and may kill the birds within a few minutes.

This is why birds who like to consume bees do not go for those bees who are alive and prefer to go for eating those bees who are already dead or incapable of stinging.

Final Thought

If you are a birdwatcher, you might have seen one of the birds discussed earlier. Hunting bees for eating is risky, and that’s why most birds do not prefer to eat them. But there are some birds popular for their bee-eating habit.

Bee-eaters, summer tanagers, honey buzzards, and greater honeyguide are some popular birds that can eat bees without any hesitation. Bee-eaters have almost half a portion of their diet as bees and insects.

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