Family Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Least Concern

Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis)


French: Guêpier à gorge bleue German: Malaienspint Spanish: Abejaruco gorjiazul

Merops viridis


, 1758,



Relationships uncertain. Recent molecular phylogeny suggested that present species (with M. americanus) and M. leschenaulti are part of a subclade, with M. orientalis (including M. viridissimus and M. cyanophrys) as sister#R. Until recently, treated as conspecific with M. americanus (which see). Javan population sometimes considered subspecifically distinct on grounds of plumage, with race sumatranus consequently resurrected to include other populations; but detected differences appear to be related merely to age or wear. Monotypic.


SE China (including Hainan), S Thailand and Indochina (except much of Laos) S to Sumatra, Java, Borneo and N Natuna Is.

Descriptive notes

21–23·5 cm (with streamers, up to 9 cm more); 34–41 g. Crown and mantle dark mahogany, chin, throat and cheeks blue; back, wings and lower scapulars green... read more


Commonest call is a repeated rather weak rolling “prrrp”, both when perched and in flight. Also a... read more


Beach-front scrub, dunes, pasture, farmland, suburban gardens, tin-tailings, sandy clearings and... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on honeybees (Apis) and other hymenopterans, flies, beetles and bugs, some very large (up to 42 mm long); on Penang I,... read more


Eggs laid from Feb to about Apr in Borneo, in mid-Apr to mid-Jul in mainland Malaysia, and in Jan, May, Sept and Oct in Java. Usually nests... read more


Resident but dispersive, nomadic or locally migratory in Java and Sumatra. Migratory farther N,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very little information regarding density and abundance of this species; it is widespread, with a huge latitudinal breeding range,... read more

Recommended citation

Fry, H. & Boesman, P. (2019). Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis). 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 25 April 2019).