Southern Carmine Bee Eater

Scientific Name:
Merops nubicoides
Sub-Saharan Africa
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About the Southern Carmine Bee Eater

The Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) is a striking bird species known for its vibrant plumage and impressive aerial displays.


Southern Carmine Bee-eaters are typically found in open woodlands, savannas, grasslands, and riverine habitats across sub-Saharan Africa. They prefer areas with suitable nesting sites, such as sandy riverbanks, cliffs, and eroded riverbeds. These bee-eaters are highly migratory, with populations moving between breeding and non-breeding areas depending on the availability of food and nesting conditions.


Southern Carmine Bee-eaters are medium-sized birds, measuring approximately 24 to 26 centimeters (9.4 to 10.2 inches) in length, including their elongated central tail feathers. They have a slender body, long, pointed wings, and a distinctive curved bill adapted for catching flying insects. Their plumage is predominantly carmine red, with contrasting turquoise-blue feathers on the wings and tail, a black mask across the eyes, and a white chin and throat. Best Viewing The best places to view Southern Carmine Bee-eaters are in their breeding colonies during the breeding season, which typically occurs from September to March in southern Africa. Look for nesting colonies on sandy riverbanks, cliffs, or eroded riverbeds, where bee-eaters excavate burrows for nesting. These colonies can contain hundreds to thousands of birds and provide excellent opportunities for observation and photography.