Bee-eaters on Norfolk coast are 'worrying' sign of climate change, says RSPB

The bee-eaters are known by some as 'rainbow birds' due to their bright colours. Credit: Mike Edgecombe

The arrival in the UK of seven brightly coloured birds more often seen in Africa is a "worrying" sign of climate change, the RSPB has said.

The birds - known as bee-eaters - are usually a rare sight in Britain and are currently the only ones breeding in the country. 

Usually found in northern Africa and southern Europe they have made a small quarry at Trimingham, near Cromer in Norfolk their home.

Thousands are expected to come out and see what the RSPB has called one of “the most exciting birds you can see in the UK right now”.

The birds have previously visited the British Isles, having most recently been spotted nesting in Nottinghamshire in 2017

Despite being relatively rare, their increasingly regular visits to the UK, even in small numbers, is a "worrying sign of how our climate is changing before our eyes," said Mark Thomas from the RSPB. 

“We mustn’t forget that the arrival of these birds to our shores is due to changes to our climate and subsequent pressures on wildlife both here and across the globe," he said.

“Pushed northwards by climate change, these exotic birds will likely become established summer visitors in the future.” 

Disturbing bee-eaters nests is a criminal offence, so people are being encouraged to keep a distance.

The RSPB and North-East Norfolk Bird Club have teamed up to allow people to get a glimpse of the birds in a safe way, with car parking available near the quarry.