Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Meropidae
Genus: Merops
Species: M. philippinus
Binomial name
Merops philippinus
Linnaeus, 1766

The Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Merops philippinus is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It breeds in southeastern Asia. It is strongly migratory, seen seasonally in much of peninsular India.

This species is sometimes considered to be conspecific with the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, M. persicus.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater from behind, showing the blue rump and tail

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly-coloured, slender bird. It is predominantly green; its face has a narrow blue patch with a black eye stripe, and a yellow and brown throat; the tail is blue and the beak is black. It can reach a length of 23-26 cm, including the two elongated central tail feathers. Sexes are alike.

This is a bird which breeds in sub-tropical open country, such as farmland, parks or ricefields. It is most often seen near large waterbodies. Like other bee-eaters it predominantly eats insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch.This species probably takes bees and dragonflies in roughly equal numbers. The insect that are caught are beaten on the perch to kill and break the exoskeleton. This habit is seen in many other members of the coraciiformes order.

These bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks or open flat areas. They make a relatively long tunnel in which the 5 to 7 spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs. These birds also feed and roost communally. The call is similar to that of the European Bee-eater.


  • BirdLife International (2004). Merops philippinus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Rollers by Fry, Fry and Harris, ISBN
  • Dharmakumarsinhji, K. S. (1958)Bluetailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus Linnaeus in western Saurashtra.JBNHS 55: 351-352.
  • Phillips, W. W. A. (1956)Prolonged stay of the Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus philippinus) in eastern Ceylon.Spolia Zeylanica 28(1): 109.
  • Norris, C. E. (1963)The Bluetailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus Linnaeus, nesting in Ceylon. JBNHS 60: 259.
  • Neelakantan, K. K. (1948) On the breeding of the Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus javanicus) in Rajahmundri, East Godavari district. JBNHS 47: 741-742.
  • Kasambe,R. (2004)Nesting of Blue Tailed Bee-eaters in Amravati District of MaharashtraNLBW 44(2): 21-22


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