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Green Bee-eater - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Merops orientalis)

Alternative name: Little Green Bee-eater

Nominate Subspecies : breeding pair, male (right) giving food to female
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Basai, Gurgaon, Haryana, India, April-2017
Merops orientalis


Subspecies M. o. cyanophrys
Photo © by Simonph
Dubai, UAE, December 2004

16-18cm (6¼-7 in)

  • Green upper parts
  • Head and underpart colours vary according to subspecies
  • Green wings
  • Black beak

Sexes similar


Africa, Middle East and Asia:
Northern Africa: Libya, Egypt
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda
Middle East: Israel, Jordan, Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran
Asia: Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Eastern and Western Himalayas, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan
Southeast Asia: Indochina, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand


Juvenile, subspecies M. o. ferrugeiceps
Photo © by Nook
Na Ngua, Phetchabun, Thailand, June 2017


Subspecies M. o. ferrugeiceps
Photo © by nothinghill
Thailand, January 2018

There are 8 subspecies[1]:

  • M. o. viridissimus :
  • M. o. flavoviridis:
  • Subdesert steppes of Chad to Red Sea coast of Sudan
  • M. o. cleopatra:
  • Nile Valley (Lake Nasser to delta)
  • M. o. cyanophrys:
  • M. o. najdanus:
  • Central Arabian plateau
  • M. o. beludschicus:
  • From the north end of Persian Gulf to Baluchistan and western India
  • M. o. orientalis:
  • M. o. ferrugeiceps:


Around water bodies, river sides, open cultivated areas, scrub forests, parks and gardens, open woodland.



They catch bees and other insects in flight and retun to the same perch to batter them to remove the sting before eating.


Nests are made in a tunnel in sandy banks. The 4 to 8 spherical white eggs are incubated by both the male and the female.


Listen in an external program

Recording by Alok Tewari
Nazafgarh Wetlands, Gurgaon, Haryana, India, March-2015
A pair, ssp. orientalis, calling while examining a mud-embankment for possible nesting site, early summer-time.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. AvianWeb
  4. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

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