Order: Coraciiformes

Family: Merops

Scientific name: Merops philippinus, Linnaeus, 1766

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Blue Tailed Bee-eater is one among the two migratory Bee-eaters found in Kerala.


The Blue Tailed Bee-eater is richly coloured and slender Bee-eater measuring about 29 cm in length and 30-40 grams weight. The overall plumage is green. The back and the head are brownish green. The distal end of the wings, rump and the tail are bluish. The breast and the belly are pale green and the under tail is pale azure. The central tail feathers are prolonged into bluish streamers (pin feathers) .The blackish eye stripe extends beyond the eye and has bluish border. The chin and throat are brown. The irises are brown, beak is steel black and feet are pale grey. Both Sexes look similar, but females have shorter tail feathers. Juvenile is duller and lacks elongated central tail feathers.


The diet of Blue-tailed Bee-eater is mostly flying insects. Dragonflies, honeybees, flies, wasps, hornets and beetles are the primary food. They sit in an open perch catch the flying insects by hawking. They beat the prey on the perch to kill it and remove the venom and finally it is swallowed. The forage time is mainly day and it is done solitarily, pairs or in groups.


The habitat of Blue Tailed Bee-eater is wetlands, plantations, pastures, rural gardens, urban parks, dry forests, moist lowlands, mangrove vegetation, freshwater lakes, rivers, streams and creeks. In India it is distributed patchily throughout the union. They are also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season of Blue-tailed bee-eater is from February to June. Like most of the bee-eaters, these species are also cavity and colony nesters. Both parent birds dig tunnels into the sandy earth banks on the sides of rivers and lakes. The incubating chamber is at the very end of the tunnel. Normally 5-7 spherical white eggs are laid. The incubation period may last up to 23-26 days. Both the parents incubate the eggs and take care of the chicks.


The call is a distinctive “pr-reee-pr-reee” or “prip-prip-prip” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis).
  • Chestnut Headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti).
  • Blue Cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus).
  • Madagascar Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus).
  • Black Headed Bee-eater (Merops breweri).
  • White Throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis).

Migratory Behaviour

Common Winter Visitor