Somali Bee-eater

The Somali Bee-eater (Merops revoilii) are small African bee-eaters – so named for their favorite prey: bees.

Somali Bee-eater, Merops revoilii, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, Africa

Distribution / Habitat

Their range stretches from Somalia east into southeastern Ethiopia, west to Saudi Arabia, and south to northern and eastern Kenya (west of Lake Turkana south to Tsavo National Park) and Tanzania.

They prefer dry country and desert areas and are usually seen alone or in pairs (during the breeding season).



The Somali Bee-eater is the second smallest Bee-eater after the Little Bee-eater. It only measures 6.3 – 7.1 inches (~16 – 18 cm), including the tail.

Plumage Details / Adults

This bee-eater is mostly green above, except for a blue rump, reddish-brown forehead, and, blackish bar that extends across the eyes down to the sides of the neck. The plumage below is cinnamon.

Diet / Feeding

Somali-beaters feed primarily on bees but will take other small flying insects – depending on the availability of prey and season. Insects are often caught in flight with short dashes from low perches.

Breeding / Nesting

Somali Bee-eaters mostly breed between March and June. They usually nest in the sides of deep wells; they may dig holes in cliffs or banks of earth.

They usually nest in small colonies that comprise family groups, known as “clans”. Non-breeding adults or immature birds participate in raising the young of other members – something that is commonly referred to as “cooperative breeding.”

Calls / Vocalizations / Sounds

The calls are described as deep squeaks.

Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ????? … Czech: Vlha somálská … Danish: Somalibiæder … Dutch: Somalibijeneter, Somalische Bijeneter … Estonian: Somaali mesilasenäpp … Finnish: Somalianmehiläissyöjä … French: Guêpier de Revoil … German: Blaßspint, Somalispint … Italian: Gruccione della / di Somalia … Japanese: somariahachikui, somari-hachikui … Norwegian: Somalibieter … Polish: Zolna blada … Russian: ??????????? ????? … Slovak: v?elárik bledý … Spanish: Abejaruco Somalí … Swedish: Somalibiätare … Swahili: Kerem Somali

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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