Little Green Bee-eater

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Little Green Bee-eater
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Little_green_bee_eater.jpg
Little Green Bee-eater


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Coraciiformes
Family:Meropidae
Genus:Merops
Species:M. orientalis
Binomial name
Merops orientalis
Latham, 1802

The Little Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis, is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is resident in a belt across sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal and The Gambia to Ethiopia, the Nile valley, western Arabia and Asia through India to Vietnam.

This species should not be confused with the Little Bee-eater, Merops pusillus. Migration is limited to seasonal movements depending on rainfall patterns.

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird. It always has green upper parts, but the head and underpart colours vary widely depending on the race. Thus, southeast Asian birds have rufous crown and face, and green underparts, whereas Arabian breeders have a green crown, blue face and bluish underparts. The wings are green and the beak is black. It reaches a length of 16-18 cm, including the two elongated central tail feathers. Sexes are alike.

This is an abundant and fairly tame bird, familiar throughout its range. It is a bird which breeds in open country with bushes. In Africa and Arabia it is found in arid areas, but is more catholic in its habitats further east. Just as the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and ants, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. This species often hunts from low perches, maybe only a metre or less high. Before eating its meal, a bee-eater removes the sting by repeatedly hitting the insect on a hard surface.

Unlike most bee-eaters, these are often solitary nesters, making a tunnel in sandy banks. They sometimes form small colonies, or nest near other bee-eaters. They lay 4 to 8 spherical white eggs. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs. These birds roost communally, lined up on a tree branch. The call is a soft trill.

Reference

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