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".
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Merops superciliosus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Fry, C. Hilary; Fry, Kathie (2010). Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Rollers. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 273. ISBN 978-1-4081-3525-9.
- "Range map". IUCN. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- 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.
- "Madagascar Bee-eater, Olive Bee-eater". Biodiversity Explorer. Iziko. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- 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.
- Olive bee-eater - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.