Family Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Least Concern

White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides)


French: Guêpier à front blanc German: Weißstirnspint Spanish: Abejaruco frentiblanco

Merops Bullockoides

A. Smith

, 1834,

Marico district, North West Province, South Africa


Has been placed with other small, rounded-winged species lacking tail-streamers (M. bulocki, M. oreobates, M. variegatus, M. pusillus, M. gularis, and M. muelleri, and forms previously included within these species) in genus Melittophagus. Close to M. bulocki, with which sometimes treated as conspecific. Birds from S Tanzanian highlands sometimes separated as race randorum, but differences from other populations very slight. Specific name occasionally listed as bulockoides, in apparent accordance with spelling of closely related M. bulocki (upon which original name of present species was presumably based), but original spelling must stand. Monotypic.


W Gabon, NE DRCongo (Virunga National Park) and NW Kenya (L Turkana) S to Angola, N & E Botswana, and C & E South Africa (to Free State and KwaZulu-Natal).

Descriptive notes

23 cm; 28–38 g. White forehead and forecrown feathers become pointed and spiky with wear and greyish feather bases show through, so top of head looks mealy or scruffy;... read more


Commonest call is a nasal, muffled “nyaah” or “gauuu”, sometimes faintly bisyllabic or slightly... read more


Broadleaf and mixed woodland along perennial rivers, dry watercourses in well-wooded country,... read more

Food and feeding

Hymenoptera form 87% of diet; also eats beetles, bugs, flies, dragonflies, damselflies, moths, butterflies, grasshoppers and cicadas. Hunts... read more


In Kenya eggs laid in all months, mainly Oct–Feb, then Apr–Jun; Aug–Sept in Angola and Zambia, Aug–Nov in Zimbabwe... read more


Generally resident; little evidence for any regular migrations, but seasonal variation in reporting... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common and widespread. Has benefited from human activities by nesting in quarries and cuttings; range thought to be extending along river valleys in... read more

Recommended citation

Fry, H. & Boesman, P. (2019). White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides). 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 May 2019).