Order: Coraciiformes

Family:  Meropidae

Scientific name: Merops orientalis, Latham, 1801

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Green Bee-eater is also known as Small Bee-eater.


Green bee-eater is a small, slender, brightly coloured greenish bird, measuring 15 to 20 cm in length and weighting 15 to 25 grams. The overall plumage is green. The chin and the throat are greenish blue. The crown, nape and upper back are light rufous brown. The central tail feathers are nearly 7 cm long and prolonged into blunt pins. The flight feathers are greenish washed with rufous tinge. A fine black line runs from the base of the bill, through the eye and beyond the eye. The bill is black, slender, long and slightly curved. The irises are brown and legs are dark grey. There is a conspicuous black necklace. Both sexes look similar. Juvenile is duller with paler eye line, pale green breast and almost white belly.


The diet Green Bee-eater is mostly flying insects. Insects like grasshoppers, locusts, cicadas, moths, beetles, honeybees, wasps, flies and flying ants and termites are the primary food. Occasionally they feed crabs also. They perch on open tree branch or cable and launch into air after the flying insect. On catching the prey, they return to the same perch. They repeatedly thrash the insect on the perch to remove its sting and venom and finally swallowed. The forage time is mainly day and it is done solitarily, pairs or in groups.


Green Bee-eater inhabit in farmlands, pastures, plantations, rural gardens, neighbourhood of cultivation, forest clearings, fallow lands, gardens, golf links and urban parks. In India, it is distributed throughout the union. They are also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season is from February to May in most of its range. They usually nest in loose colonies, on the river bunds, earth banks etc. Both parents excavate horizontal tunnels in the banks. At the end of the tunnel there will be a nesting chamber. Normally 4-7 eggs are laid. Both the parents incubate the eggs for 13-14 days. When the young ones come, they are cared by both parents


The call is a nasal “tree-tree-tree” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Blue Cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus).
  • Blue Tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus).
  • Chestnut Headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti).
  • Merops orientalis beludschicus of Iran, Pakistan and northwest India
  • Merops orientalis orientalis of India (except northwest and northeast India) and Bangladesh.
  • Merops orientalis ceylonicus is distributed in Sri Lanka
  • Merops orientalis ferrugeiceps of northeast India, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Migratory Behaviour

Common Resident and local migrant