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Carmine Bee-eaters (Merops nubicus & M. nubicoides) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Two species broadly separated

  • Intervening 2,000 km (1,243 mi) includes unsuitable habitat
    • Uninhabited regions is too warm and humid in summertime (Fry 1984)

Northern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus)

  • East, West, and Central Africa
    • Sub-Saharan Africa in a narrow belt from the Atlantic to Indian Oceans; north and east of Kenya, northeast Tanzania
    • Countries include: Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of; Côte d'Ivoire; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda (IUCN 2008)

Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) 

  • Southern Africa
    • Occupy a broad belt from Rwanda to Swaziland and from Angola to Western Rift Valley in Kenya; in southern Mozambique to the Indian Ocean; heart of range is Zambia's Luangwa River
    • Countries include: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, United Republic of Zambia, Zimbabwe (IUCN 2008)

Complex migratory patterns within range

  • 3-stage migration pattern for both species
    • Occupy breeding/nesting ranges at higher latitudes in summer and lower latitudes after nesting (Fry 1984)
    • Fry (1984) lists known nesting locations (at the time)
    • Carmine Bee-eaters are not as conspicuous or regular in their migration habits as White-throated or European Bee-eaters


Sand cliffs along large river, savanna woodlands

  • Large breeding colonies use for many years (Fry 2001)

Avoid heavy forests

Distribution Maps

Northern Carmine bee eater distribution map

Northern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus) distribution. 

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).


South Carmine bee eater distribution map

Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) distribution. 

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

Page Citations

Fry (1984, 2001)
IUCN (2008)

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