European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster


    The European bee-eater is an incredibly colourful bird with an unmistakable appearance. In breeding plumage, it has a rich chestnut crown that blends into gold on its back. The forehead is white, the throat is yellow bordered by black, and the underparts are blue. Male European bee-eaters have a chestnut-coloured patch in the middle of the wing, while in females this patch is usually smaller or even absent. Occasionally, females may also be distinguished from the males by having a green back. The wings and backs of juvenile European bee-eaters are entirely green, and the eyes are brown, in contrast to the bright red eyes of adults. The call of the European bee-eater sounds like a rolling ‘prrt’.

    Identification difficulty
    UK Status

    Usually seen as an occasional migrant - Bee-eaters have only nested a handful of times in the UK in the past decade. However, various exotic birds are being pushed northwards because of climate change with more expected on our shores in the coming years.

    VC55 Status

    Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map