The southern carmine bee-eater (Merops nubicoides), like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, striking bird, predominantly carmine in colour but with the crown and undertail coverts blue. Its usual habitat included low-altitude river valleys and floodplains, preferring vertical banks suitable for tunneling when breeding, but readily digging vertical burrows in the level surface of small salt islands. This is a migratory species, spending the breeding season, between August and November, in Zimbabwe, before moving south to South Africa for the summer months, and then migrating to equatorial Africa from March to August. Their diet is made up primarily of bees and other flying insects, and their major hunting strategy involves hawking flying insects from perch. This bee-eater often hunts insects by riding on the backs of bustards, storks, heron, cranes, sheep, goats, camels, zebra, wart hogs, and antelope.