Rainbow Bee-eater

A Rainbow Bee-Eater with a freshly caught bee
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Scientific Name: Merops ornatus

Size: 21 to 28

What does it look and sound like?

This brilliantly coloured bird is unmistakable in both plumage and voice. Both Rainbow Bee-eater sexes have beautiful blue-green body plumage, a rufous crown, a yellow throat, and conspicuous black lines through the eyes and on the two central tail feathers extend beyond the rest of the tail; these are longer on the male. In flight the wings are bright rufous-orange below. The call is a high-pitched “trrrrp-trrrrp”, mainly in flight.

Where is it found?

The Rainbow Bee-eater is found throughout Australia, migrating north outside of the breeding season.

What are its habitats & habits?

Rainbow Bee-eaters are abundant in open, lightly timbered areas.

As indicated by the common name, the Rainbow Bee-eater feeds on bees, although a variety of insect prey is also taken. 

Interesting facts

Bee-eaters remove the sting of their insect prey by carefully squeezing the body and wiping the insect’s abdomen on a branch until the sting is dislodged.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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