A dainty exquisite little bird covered in bronze and intense emerald green plumage whose extremely good looks are complemented by a lovely long tail!
Meet the Green Bee-eater
Photo (cropped) Courtesy of Yogendra Joshi / CC BY 2.0
The green bee-eater (Merops orientalis), also known as the little green bee-eater, is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family. A mostly bronze-green bird, with a golden-green crown and nape, black eye-line, and bluish-green cheeks, chin, and throat. There is a black half-collar between the throat and breast, with black trailing edges on the wings. Outer under-tail feathers are grey, and median rectrices are long and shaded purple. Streamers on the male are as long as 7 cm. The bill is black and curved down. Eyes are red, and legs and feet are blackish.
Photo (cropped) Courtesy of mitragynine / CC BY-SA 2.0
Males and females are practically indistinguishable from one another. Juveniles are duller and lack the half-collar their parents have.
The eye line is also duller, the breast is green and the belly is almost white.
Photo (cropped) Courtesy of Piyush Ojha / CC BY 2.0
Green bee-eaters reside in a belt across sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal and The Gambia to Ethiopia, the Nile Valley, western Arabia, and Asia into India and Vietnam.
Photo Courtesy of Jaiprakashsingh / CC BY-SA 3.0
A fairly tame bird, they are abundant throughout their range. In Africa and Arabia, they are found in arid areas but are far more common in habitats further east. Often hunting from low perches, they happily make use of fence wires and electric wires. They are mostly seen on the plains but can sometimes be found up to 5000 to 6000 feet in the Himalayas.
Photo Courtesy of Vijay Sonar / CC BY 2.0
As this bird’s name suggests, Green bee-eaters mainly eat insects, especially bees, wasps, and ants, caught during mid-air sallies from a perch. They will also prey on beetles, hymenopterans, and crabs. Before eating a bee, bee-eaters remove the sting by hitting the insect on a hard surface.
Photo (cropped) Courtesy of Sriharsha Nadiger / Public domain
Breeding is from March to June, where unlike most bee-eaters they are solitary nesters, building a tunnel in sandy banks. Three to five eggs are laid on bare ground in a cavity at the end of the tunnel. Both the male and the female will incubate the eggs. Incubation takes 18 to 22 days, with the young fed by both parents after they hatch, taking 22 to 31 days to leave the nest.
Photo Courtesy of Len Worthington / CC BY-SA 2.0
Not a threatened species, the Green bee-eater is a common bird throughout its range.
Photo Courtesy of Sankara Subramanian / CC BY 2.0
Watch and listen to this bird right here below: