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Bee-eaters in captivity

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by GerbenElzinga, 24 Jul 2017.

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  1. GerbenElzinga

    GerbenElzinga Well-Known Member

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    There we are again.
    Following suit on our previous threads (Birds of Paradise in captivity, Cotingas in captivity, Barbets in captivity, Manakins in captivity), @Vision and I have been working on a list for yet another family of wonderful birds in captivity, namely Bee-eaters.

    A couple thoughts beforehand:
    1)
    Because we had to draw the line somewhere, we decided to use no information older than 5 years (so only things posted from 2012 onwards) upon making this list; we did this to keep the list as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
    2) To make this list we used information from zootierliste, zoochat, visits to the respective zoos, and occasionally other sources (facebook pages of the collections, visits of friends to the respective zoos, etc.)
    3) There are bound to be many more bee-eaters in other collections, but it is very hard to find a lot of information about them online.
    4) Anyone is more than welcome to mention things that need to be altered/updated on this list!



    BEE-EATERS IN CAPTIVITY
    Merops (8)
    White-throated bee-eater, Merops albicollis (2)

    NORTH AMERICA:
    Bronx (0,0,10)
    San Diego Zoo (x,x)

    European bee-eater, Merops apiaster (14)

    EUROPE:
    Antwerp (0,0,9)
    Argeles Gazost (x,x)
    Best (x,x)
    Budapest (x,x)
    Copenhagen (4,5)
    Dresden (x,x)
    Frankfurt (3,2)
    Landgraaf (x,x)
    Olmen (x,x)
    Plock (0,5)
    Sant Alessio (x,x)
    Spata (x,x)
    Vienna (x,x)
    Zürich (x,x)


    Red-throated bee-eater, Merops bulocki (2)
    EUROPE:
    Plzen (0,0,5)

    NORTH AMERICA:
    Oklahoma City Zoo (x,x)

    White-fronted bee-eater, Merops bullockoides (8)
    EUROPE:
    Berlin ZG (1,2)
    Hagenbeck (x,x)
    Olmen (x,x)
    Pairi Daiza (x,x)
    Vienna (x,x)

    NORTH AMERICA:
    Bronx (0,0,20)
    San Diego SP (x,x)
    San Diego Zoo (x,x)

    Chestnut-headed bee-eater, Merops leschenaulti (1)
    ASIA:
    Penang Bird Park (x,x)

    Rainbow bee-eater, Merops ornatus (2)
    OCEANIA:
    Adelaide Zoo (x,x)
    Alice Springs (x,x)
    Hunter Valley Zoo (x,x)
    Taronga Zoo (x,x)

    Blue-cheeked bee-eater, Merops persicus (1)
    EUROPE:
    Magdeburg (x,x,9)

    Northern Carmine bee-eater, Merops nubicus (17)
    EUROPE:
    Basel (6,6)
    Berlin ZG (2,1)
    Bourton-on-the-Water (x,x)
    Cologne (38,38,5)
    Dvur Kralove (x,x)
    Hagenbeck (x,x)
    Krefeld (x,x)
    Magdeburg (x,x)
    Olmen (x,x)
    Pairi Daiza (x,x)
    Plzen (x,x)
    Rotterdam (x,x)
    Walsrode (x,x)

    NORTH AMERICA:
    Cincinnati (x,x)
    Saint Louis (x,x)

    ASIA:
    Jurong (x,x)
    Zoorasia (x,x)
     
  2. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    The San Diego Zoo Safari Park also holds this species.
     
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  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Adelaide and Taronga don't have them any more. Currently there is one at the Australian Reptile Park, 1.1 at Hunter Valley, and 4.6 at Alice Springs Desert Park. They are kept by private aviculturists in Australia as well, so are probably also at some of the smaller bird and wildlife parks.
     
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  4. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    They were breeding them at Featherdale a few years ago.

    :p

    Hix
     
  5. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    there were a few zoos with largish groups (including Taronga) in the last few years. They seem to have died out in most of them but I don't know why.
     
  6. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Just out of curiousity I made a small list of the species I've taken care for and came to a remarkeble 7 species :
    - Black bee-eater
    - Cinnamon-chested bee-eater
    - European bee-eater
    - Little bee-eater
    - White-fronted bee-eater
    - White-throated bee-eater
     
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  7. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I've seen 11 species in the wild. I'm a little surprised that only 8 of the 26 odd species are held in captivity.

    :p

    Hix
     
  8. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    San Diego Zoo recently acquired this species as well.
     
  9. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Bee-eaters in general seem surprisingly rare in captivity considering they're widely distributed, common in many areas, and most are really rather attractive and colourful species. Kingfishers are another taxon that seem to be in the same position.

    Are they particularly difficult to breed and keep in captivity?

    (also, I'm on 14 species in the wild :p)
     
  10. Hvedekorn

    Hvedekorn Well-Known Member

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    I don't know much about bee-eater breeding and husbandry, but I can say that despite being attractive and colorful, they are still small birds - one of the animal groups that the average visitor seems to care the least about. A colorful and active small bird may receive a couple more looks than a dull-colored and motionless small bird, but it's still gonna get ignored in favor of any ABC's nearby. That, and the fact that many bee-eaters - as you mention - are not rare in the wild, probably gives zoos little incentive to keep them.

    I do think bee-eaters can made significantly interesting to the public if they are exhibited the way that for example Basel Zoo exhibits them. Near a beehive so that you might be lucky to actually see their special bee-catching techniques (which I saw several times when I visited). Problem is, most zoos seem to keep them in tropical halls or mixed-species African aviaries in bird houses. Would they be willing to put in the effort to make a dedicated bee-eater exhibit?
     
  11. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Taronga Zoo used to have a beehive near their Rainbow Bee-eaters (it may have even been in the aviary). But people are terrified of bees and when they saw them buzzing around outside the aviary they'd literally run away and see none of the birds in that area.

    :p

    Hix
     
  12. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Visited the Open Day held today at Wisbroek Breeding Center in the Netherlands. During 2015 I had also visited this collection and found then no less then 5 species :
    - Red-throated
    - Northern carmine
    - White-throated
    - White-fronted
    - Blue-cheeked
    Today I only found large groups of 2 species :
    - Northern carmine
    - Red-throated
    This does however not mean that the other species are not kept anymore ( althrough this is also possible ). A large part of the collection was not visuable for the public so the other species may still be kept but I'm not sure about this.
    From the 2 species still being kept for surtain I've already uploaded pictures in the Wilbroek Gallery - the Netherlands ( see Red-throated bee-eater | ZooChat and Carmine bee-eater | ZooChat ).
     
  13. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Bronx zoo some time ago announced bee-eater feeding, when birds snatched insects in flight. I wonder what became of it. Anyway, feeding bee-eaters by hand could be interesting for visitors.
     
  14. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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  15. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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