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Acrylic on illustration board 40" x 15"

 Related to the kingfishers and rollers, the Old World bee-eaters are mostly birds of open spaces, where they make their livings capturing bees, wasps and other insects on the wing. Although none of these birds are drab, the Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus) is particularly striking, with its large size and brilliant scarlet chest. Two disjunct populations inhabit the savannahs of Africa: a pink-throated race south of the equator and a blue-throated race to the north. Carmines differ from other bee-eaters in that they feed far more heavily on grasshoppers like the Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria). The northern race is also known to capture small fish in the manner of a tern, and often follows large animals like Ostriches (Struthio camelus), exploiting their ability to flush insects from the brush. Scuttling through the ostrich's feathers, a parasitic louse fly (family Hippoboscidae) is just visible.