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Little Bee-eater - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by wim de groot
The Gambia, January 2005
Merops pusillus


16 cm - 6 1/4 inches

  • Green upper parts
  • Yellow throat
  • Black gorget
  • Brown upper breast fading towards ochre on the belly
  • Wings are green and brown
  • Black beak

Sexes are alike


Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegambia, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland



Merops pusillus has five subspecies[1]:

  • M. p. pusillus
  • M. p. ocularis
  • M. p. cyanostictus
  • M. p. meridionalis
  • M. p. argutus


Open country with scattered trees and bushes.



Their diet includes insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught on the wing.The sting is removed by hitting the insect on a hard surface.


A nest is made by making a tunnel in sandy banks, or sometimes in the entrance to an Aardvark den. They lay 4 to 6 spherical white eggs. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Kenya Birds
  4. Wikipedia

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