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White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) Fact Sheet, 2010  

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) Fact Sheet, 2010

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Describer (Date): Smith, 1834

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Coraciiformes

Family: Meropidae

Genus: Merops

Species: Merops bullockoides

Body Weight: 28-38 g (0.1-1.3 oz)

Body Length: 21.5-23.5 cm (8.5-9.5 in)

Plumage: Dull white forehead,
black mask, white chin and cheeks,
scarlet throat, buff breast and belly,
green wings and tail, scarlet throat;
no streamers.

Beak: Black; sharp-pointed, downwards

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Range: Tropical southern Africa

Habitat: Wooded savannas, sandy
cliffs; African grassland and open
scrub of Kenya.

IUCN Status: Least Concern ver 3.1

CITES Appendix: Not Listed

Population in Wild: Increasing

Migration: Do not migrate

Activity Cycle: Diurnal; after dawn emerge
from nest burrows; perch, preen, fly
as clan groups to feed; return late
afternoon to socialize, preen; enter
burrows for night

Social Groups: Form colonies; monogamous,
cooperative breeding with helpers.

Diet: Flying insects, especially bees
and predators on bee.

Predators: Snake, lizard, mongoose,
and swift nest robbers;honeyguide nest
parasitizing birds kill embryos and their
young kill nest mates.

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Sexual Maturity. Adult plumage at 6 months.

Courtship: Lengthy - often 6-8 weeks;
occurs at roosting colongy and on feeding territory.

Clutch Size: 2-5 eggs; nests w/helpers have
most eggs.

Nest: Burrow excavated in cliff face;
1-2 m (3.3-6.6 ft) long ending with
20 cm (7.9 in) long brood chamber

Hatchlings: Born blind and naked (altricial)

Fledging: At around 29 days for well-fed
chicks; can be delayed if not enough food.

Longevity: 5 - 6 years average

Feature Facts: White-fronted Bee-eater
society is pehaps the most complex
of any bird species known; these
colonial nesters are monogamous,
pairing for life; may switch frequently
between breeding parent and helper
roles when rearing young.

San Diego Zoo: The San Diego Zoo
has successfully raised more than 100 bee-eater
chicks in the years it has maintained
these gregarious birds.


About This Fact Sheet

© 2010-2016 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated 2015; minor updates 2016.

How to cite: White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) Fact Sheet, 2010. c2010-2016. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd].
(Note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to



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