Olive bee-eater

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Olive bee-eater
Madagascar bee eater.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Meropidae
Genus: Merops
Species: M. superciliosus
Binomial name
Merops superciliosus
Linnaeus, 1766

The olive bee-eater, (or Madagascar bee-eater) (Merops superciliosus) is a near passerine bee-eater species in the genus Merops. It is native to the southern half of Africa where it is present in Angola; Botswana; Burundi; Comoros; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Kenya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mayotte; Mozambique; Namibia; Rwanda; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe. It is a common species with a wide range so the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated their conservation status as "least concern".[1]


The olive bee-eater grows to a length of 23 to 26 cm (9.1 to 10.2 in) with its tail streamers adding up to 7 cm (2.8 in). The sexes are similar, and adults have bronzy-green plumage with an olive cap and white forehead, eyebrows, chin and cheeks. The rump and tail are blue, apart from the streamers, which are black.[2]


The olive bee-eater is found in the grassland and coastal mountain forests of East Africa and Madagascar, and an isolated population can be found in coastal Angola.[3] There are two subspecies; M. s. superciliosus occurs in eastern Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, and southwards through East Africa to southern Mozambique and the Zambezi Valley, as well as the Comoro Islands and Madagascar; M. s. alternans occurs in western Angola and northwestern Namibia.[4]


They are partially migratory, and usually breed only in the southern portion of their range, moving north for the dry season in southern Africa. It lays four eggs in a burrow nest at the beginning of the southern African wet season, and the chicks usually hatch at the beginning of December.[5] Unlike most bee-eaters, the species does not practice cooperative breeding and post-fledging dependence is only around nineteen days, which is typical of temperate zone passerines and about half that of most Meropidae species.[6]



  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Merops superciliosus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Fry, C. Hilary; Fry, Kathie (2010). Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Rollers. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 273. ISBN 978-1-4081-3525-9. 
  3. ^ "Range map". IUCN. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Fry, H.; Boesman, P. (2016). "Olive Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "Madagascar Bee-eater, Olive Bee-eater". Biodiversity Explorer. Iziko. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Langen, Tom A. (2000). "Prolonged offspring dependence and cooperative breeding in birds" (PDF). Behavioral Ecology. 11 (4): 367–377. doi:10.1093/beheco/11.4.367. 

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