Blue-tailed bee-eater

   ›      ›   Blue-tailed bee-eater - Merops philippinus.

The blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus) is a richly coloured, slender bee-eater belonging to the family Meropidae.

These bee-eater species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka and southeast Asian countries. These blue-tailed bee-eater species are gregarious and nest in colonies. These bee-eaters are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Blue-tailed Bee-eater Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Blue-tailed bee-eater - Overview

  • Scientific name: Merops philippinus
  • Species author: Linnaeus, 1767
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Merops philippinus Linnaeus, 1767
  • Family: Meropidae › Coraciiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Blue-tailed bee-eater, Chinese: 栗喉蜂虎, French: Guêpier à queue d’azur, German: Blauschwanzspint, Spanish: Abejaruco coliazul, Russian: Синехвостая щурка, Japanese: ハリオハチクイ, Malay: Beberak Ekor Biru, Tamil: Neelawal Panchuruttan
  • Other names: Brown-breasted Bee-eater
  • Distribution: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, southern China, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia
  • Diet and feeding habits: dragonflies, honeybees, wasps, hornets, beetles
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus) is closely related to Merops superciliosus (Madagascar bee-eater) and Merops persicus (blue-cheeked bee-eater).

Appearance, physical description and identification

The blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus) is richly coloured and slender, measuring about 29 cm (excluding the streamers) in length and weighing 30 to 40 grams.

The overall plumage of these bee-eater species is brownish 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 undertail is pale azure. The central tail feathers are prolonged into bluish streamers.

The blackish eye stripe extends beyond the eye and has bluish border. The chin and throat are brownish. The irises are brown and the beak is steel black. The feet are pale gray. Their call is a distinctive "pr-reee prreee" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Blue-tailed bee-eater - Merops philippinus
Birds of India - Image of Blue-tailed bee-eater - Merops philippinus
Birds of India - Photo of Blue-tailed bee-eater - Merops philippinus
Indian birds - Picture of Blue-tailed bee-eater - Merops philippinus
Indian birds - Image of Blue-tailed bee-eater - Merops philippinus
Birds of India - Photo of Blue-tailed bee-eater - Merops philippinus

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The blue-tailed bee-eater species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Ecosystem and habitat

The blue-tailed bee-eater species have low forest dependency. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 100 meters. They inhabit various natural forest and wetland ecosystems. They also inhabit artificial terrestrial ecosystems.

Their artificial ecosystems include arable lands, plantations, pastures, rural gardens, urban parks and urban areas. The natural ecosystems of blue-tailed bee-eater include subtropical and tropical dry forests, subtropical and tropical moist lowlands, subtropical and tropical mangrove vegetation, freshwater lakes, rivers, streams and creeks.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these blue-tailed bee-eater species is mostly flying insects. Dragonflies, honeybees, flies, wasps, hornets and beetles are the primary food. They catch the flying insects by sorties from an open perch. They beat the prey on the perch to break the exoskeleton and kill it.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these blue-tailed bee-eater species is from February to June in north India. Like most of the bee-eaters, these species are also cavity nesters. They dig tunnels into the sandy earth banks on the sides of rivers and lakes.

These bee-eater species nest in colonies. The incubating chamber is at the very end of the tunnel. The typical bee-eater clutch contains 5 to 7 spherical white eggs. Both the parents incubate the eggs and take care of the chicks.

Migration and movement patterns

The blue-tailed bee-eater is a highly migrant bird.

The blue-tailed bee-eater populations in central, north and northeast India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, north Myanmar, north Thailand, north Laos and north Vietnam are migrants. They breed during the summer months.

The northern breeding populations of these bee-eater species, winter in South India, Sri Lanka, Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India), Malay Peninsula, Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Bali, south Borneo, west Timor and West Nusa Tenggara), East Philippines (Palawan) and Timor-Leste.

The blue-tailed bee-eater populations in south Sri Lanka, south Thailand, Cambodia, south Laos, South Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia (Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara) and north-east Papua New Guinea are residents and sedentary.

Post breeding, the bee-eater juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these species is considered to be stable. Throughout its range it is reported to be uncommon to locally common. The generation length is 6.2 years. Their distribution size is about 22,800,000

The blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion. Loss of habitat and feeding grounds are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these bee-eater species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the bee-eater species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Merops philippinus
Species:M. philippinus
Binomial name:Merops philippinus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Image source:
Image author: Go2rajeevsrivastava | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Image source:
Image author: ChanduBandi | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
3.Image source:
Image author: Raman Kumar | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
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