In July 2016, six European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster were tagged with radio transmitters in order to determine their space use during breeding and post-breeding. During breeding, home-range sizes were 2.0–5.5 km2 (95% kernel contour of minimum convex polygon, MCP95) and the median distance between position points and the nesting burrow was 0.20 km (Q1–Q3: 0.10–0.38 km). After Bee-eaters had fledged, adult birds increased their home range to 10.6–175.2 km2 (MCP95) and the median moving distance to the nesting burrow to 3.90 km (Q1–Q3: 1.83–5.25 km). In the last study week, two birds always flew together in larger flocks, while other tagged birds used other locations, this may indicate stable foraging groups of birds from different colonies. Space use was significantly influenced only by cloudiness during breeding and not by temperature or precipitation. In the early breeding season, only males stayed overnight in roosting trees; subsequently, both males and females stayed there. From about the end of the second week after hatching no adult birds were in the breeding colony at night. The results of this pilot study must however be verified with a broader-scaled study approach.
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Vol. 107 • No. 3