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somewhere over the rainbow Rainbow Bee-eater

Noongar name - Birrongawu

Hear all about it!

The Rainbow Bee-eater is a migrant bird and arrives on the Island from the north, around October, to breed. It stays until late February or March.

The Rainbow Bee-eater is unusual because it burrows into the ground to build its nest. The nest chamber can be up to a metre below the surface. At least one Rainbow Bee-eater burrow on Rottnest has been re-used for 20 years! The Rainbow Bee-eater likes sandy areas with low or little vegetation for its nest sites and can often be seen perched around Rottnest’s golf course.

Because the Rainbow Bee-eater feeds in flight, you may even spot it by looking for flashes of bright orange and green as it chases insects. You might also see it hitting an unlucky bee against a tree. It does this to remove the bee’s sting before eating it.

Where you can find a Rainbow Bee-eater

Conservation Status

Listed as Least Concern under ICUN (2014). All Rottnest Island’s fauna is protected under the Rottnest Island Authority Act 1987.
  • Extinct
  • Extinct in Wild
  • Critically Endangered
  • Endangered
  • Vulnerable
  • Near Threatened
  • Least Concerned

Help keep Rottnest healthy

  • Do ride carefully on the Island
  • Do keep to designated tracks
  • Do enjoy watching them on their own terms

Got a suggestion?

We're always open to feedback on how we can improve Rottnest Island for our visitors and wildlife!