Family Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Least Concern

Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)


French: Guêpier d’Orient German: Asiensmaragdspint Spanish: Abejaruco esmeralda oriental
Other common names: Little Green Bee-eater, Green Bee-eater (when lumped with M. viridissimus and M. cyanophrys)

Merops orientalis


, 1801,

Mahratta, India


Usually treated as conspecific with M. viridissimus and M. cyanophrys (see latter for rationale to treat as three separate species). Recent molecular phylogeny suggested that present species (including viridissimus and cyanophrys) is sister to M. leschenaulti and M. viridis#R. Previously claimed affinities with M. boehmi doubtful. Race name birmanus (based on birds from Myanmar) is a junior synonym of ferrugeiceps. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. o. beludschicus Neumann, 1910 – S Iran E to NW India (W Rajasthan).
  • M. o. orientalis Latham, 1801 – W India (Rann of Kutch) E to Bangladesh and S through Indian peninsula.
  • M. o. ceylonicus Whistler, 1944 – Sri Lanka.
  • M. o. ferrugeiceps J. Anderson, 1879 – NE India (E Assam) and S China (Yunnan) to S Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–18 cm (with streamers, up to 10 cm more); 17·3–27 g. A small but long-tailed bee-eater, geographically highly variable. Nominate race mostly bronzy... read more


    Commonest call is a rolling or burry “trrrr....trrrr...” or a similar “trip..trip..trrrrr...trrrrr... read more


    Arid woodland with scattered trees on mainly bare soil or sand, and Acacia, Commiphora... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds mainly on Hymenoptera, also beetles, termites, bugs, moths and many flies, ranging in size from fruit-flies (Drosophila) to... read more


    Throughout range eggs laid in Mar–Jun, occasionally also in Jul–Aug. Breeds in loose colonies with nests 10–100 m apart... read more


    Rather migratory, occurrence being markedly seasonal in Indian Subcontinent, withdrawing from N in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common to fairly common over whole of vast range.Present in numerous national parks throughout wide range, e.g. Khirthar (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H., de Juana, E., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 April 2019).