European Bee-Eater
Similar Birds:
 Green Bee-Eater
 Rainbow Bee-Eater
 Little Bee-Eater
 Swallow-Tailed Bee-Eater
 Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater
 Rosy Bee-Eater
 Black Bee-Eater
 Chestnut-Headed Bee-Eater

European Bee-Eater
Photographer: William Kreijkes

A pair of European Bee-Eaters
Photographer: Rashuli

European Bee-Eater
Photographer: Shah Jahan

European Bee-Eater
Photographer: Dūrzan cīrano

Latin Name Merops apiaster
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location Europe, Africa & Asia
Colour See below
Length 30 cm (12 inches)
Wingspan 46 cm (18 inches)
Weight 70 g (2.5 oz)
Life Expectancy - Yrs

Main Characteristics

European Bee-Eaters are one of Europe's most colourful birds and they are one of the most aerial of all Bee-Eater species. They have a body length of around 30 cms (12 inches), a wingspan of 46 cms (18 inches) and they weigh approximately 70g (2.5 oz).

They are a slender bird with yellow and brown upper parts, blueish-green underparts and a black, sharply pointed beak. They have two elongated central tail feathers and both sexes are alike.

They are a gregarious species and they feed and roost communally. They also have a very distinctive call, it is a pleasant trill.


European Bee-Eaters are found in open country, woodland and farmland in Europe, Africa and Asia. During the day they can often be see perched on telegraph wire, fences or branches.

They are a migratory species and they spend the winter months in sub-saharan African and western India. During the spring they move to north Africa, Europe and Asia to breed.


European Bee-Eaters mainly feed on stinging insects like bees and wasps. They capture them in flight then remove their sting by rapidly rubbing them on their perch. They eat around 250 insects each day.


European Bee-Eaters breed in colonies and they make their nests in sandy banks, usually near a river. Their nest is a relatively long tunnel and they lay 5 - 8 white, spherical eggs. Both the male and female incubate the eggs and after about 20 days they hatch.


Predators of European Bee-Eaters include snakes and larger birds.


There are no subspecies of the European Bee-Eater

Interesting Facts

European Bee-Eaters are also known as:

Egg size: 2.6 x 2.2 cms (1.02 x 0.87 inches)
Egg Weight: 6.5g (0.23 oz) - of which 6% is shell.

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