Little Bee-Eater, Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa,  the Little Bee Eater (Merops pusillus) is one of the most colourful birds of the Okavango Delta, Botswana.   It is a common species with total numbers estimated to be in excess of 60 million, none the less,  the species is believed to be in decline due to the use of pesticides used to control the tsetse fly.    As its name suggests,  it feeds mostly on insects such as bees and wasps,  usually caught on the wing.

Photographing the little bee-eater

Although a reasonably common sight in the Okavango Delta, the little bee-eater would flit from one perch to another pausing only briefly as we observed it.   Patience was rewarded however, in the event that I missed a shot,  it was often a case of waiting a moment and the bird would return to the same twig or branch a few seconds later.   A long telephoto lens, suitably supported, was virtually essential, in this case, the 500mm at f6.3. ISO 640 on modern digital cameras provides a clean detailed result with minimal digital noise.

Little bee-eater perched on a reed, Okavango Delta, Botswana.  Canon 5D Mark 2 with 500mm lens at F6.3,  shutter speed 1/2500 second at ISO 640.

Further Botswana images are now online. ~KD.