Abundant passage migrant; rare winter visitor. Prefers wetlands and agricultural land where it hunts insects in flight. Huge flocks, sometimes with over 1000 birds, pass over Kuwait. Noticeable due to their penetrating calls. Hundreds are senselessly killed each year by local shooters.
Where in Kuwait
It is is an incredibly colourful bird with an unmistakable appearance. It prefers open landscapes, but during migration can be found in farmlands, inland pools and areas where there is habitat and tall trees to roost on. It is often heard as it passes by overhead on migration or when coming in to roost for the night.
In the world
It has an extremely large range but is suspected to be in decline owing to loss of suitable prey due to widespread application if pesticides, loss of nesting sites through canalisation of rivers, increasing agricultural efficiency and establishment of monocultures, development of wilderness areas and shooting for sport, for food and because it is considered a crop pest. It breeds in Europe, mostly in the warmer southern parts, but occasionally as far north as Sweden and Finland, and also in parts of Africa and southern-central Asia. The majority of the population migrates to spend winter in sub-Saharan Africa. As its name suggests, it feeds on honey bees, but it also consumes a wide variety of other flying insects, especially larger species like dragonflies.
Indiscriminate shooting on passage