A wary species, most are found in Africa and Asia but others occur in southern Europe, Australia, and New Guinea.
They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies, and usually elongated central tail feathers.
All have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 different species of bee-eaters.
Cunningsburgh photographer Jim Nicolson, one of our most avid birdwatchers, was there to capture the moment when the bea-eaters landed for a time at Veensgarth.