Family Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Least Concern

Olive Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus)


French: Guêpier de Madagascar German: Madagaskarspint Spanish: Abejaruco malgache
Other common names: Madagascar Bee-eater

Merops superciliosus


, 1766,



Forms a species-group with M. philippinus and M. persicus, molecular data further indicating that these three form a clade with M. apiaster and M. ornatus#R. The three have often been regarded as conspecific, and recent molecular study found low genetic divergence among them, arguably suggesting that subspecific rank may be more appropriate#R. Present species perhaps more closely related to M. philippinus, with which still frequently treated as conspecific, but differs significantly in some plumage characters; striking plumage differences from M. persicus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. s. superciliosus Linnaeus, 1766 – E Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya through E Africa S to S Mozambique and Zambezi Valley; also Comoro Is and Madagascar.
  • M. s. alternans Clancey, 1971 – W Angola and NW Namibia.
  • Descriptive notes

    31 cm (with streamers, up to 7 cm more); 40–48 g. General plumage olive-green; crown dark olive-brown, forehead and supercilia white, mask black with broad white band... read more


    Most common call is a rolling, rather bisyllabic “”, sometimes interspersed... read more


    Occurs in riverine woodland and open country up to 1500 m in Madagascar, hunting also over stands... read more

    Food and feeding

    Not so well studied as M. persicus or M. philippinus, but from all accounts foraging methods and diet both very similar... read more


    Eggs laid in Sept–Nov in Madagascar, in Nov in Comoros, in Sept–Dec in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, about May–Aug in... read more


    Apparently resident in Madagascar, and probably also in Comoro Is; migration ­between... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and generally common in Madagascar; a locally abundant breeder in NW Somalia and SW Angola, and seasonally widespread and common or... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. & Boesman, P. (2018). Olive Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus). 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 18 November 2018).