Is it a bird? Is it an insect? Well, it’s definitely an insect but one that’s pretending to be something it’s not in order to act as a kleptoparasite on other insects, hence the name cuckoo. The ‘cuckoo bees’, the Nomada species, consist of some 850 species of bee worldwide, over 30 of which can be found in Britain. Rather than collect pollen, they lay their eggs in the nests of other bees and let those bees do all the pollen-collecting and egg-rearing.
I thought I’d got reasonably good photos of these two Nomada bees but they are notoriously difficult to identify so, according to the experts I consulted, the bee in the photos above may perhaps be Nomada ruficornis and that in the photos below could be Nomada marshamella or N. goodeniana. Despite their parasitic habits, I still find these bees attractive.