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Merops nubicoides

Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Merops nubicoides

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Euornithes
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Ornithurae
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Ordo: Coraciiformes

Familia: Meropidae
Genus: Merops
Species: Merops nubicoides

Merops nubicoides Des Murs & Pucheran, 1846

Revue Zoologique, par la Société Cuvierienne 9: 243.

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Rooiborsbyvreter
العربية: وروار كارميني جنوبي
català: Abellerol escarlata meridional
Cymraeg: Gwenynysor fflamgoch y De
dansk: Sydlig Karminbiæder
Deutsch: Karminspint
English: Southern Carmine Bee-eater
Esperanto: Sudkarmina abelmanĝulo
español: Abejaruco carmesí sureño
فارسی: زنبورخوار کارمین جنوبی
français: Guêpier carmin
עברית: שרקרק ארגמני
magyar: Kármintorkú gyurgyalag
italiano: Gruccione carminio meridionale
日本語: ミナミベニハチクイ
Nederlands: Zuidelijke Karmijnrode Bijeneter
norsk: Sinoberbieter
polski: Żołna karminowa
русский: Карминная щурка
svenska: Sydlig karminbiätare

The southern carmine bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) (formerly carmine bee-eater) occurs across sub-equatorial Africa.


This species, like other bee-eaters, is richly coloured and is predominantly carmine in colouration, but the crown and undertail are blue.
Range and movements

The Southern carmine bee-eater occurs from KwaZulu-Natal and Namibia to Gabon, the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. The bee-eater is a migratory species, spending the breeding season, between August and November, in Zimbabwe and Zambia, before moving as south as South Africa for the summer months, and then migrating to Equatorial Africa from March to August.
Diet and foraging

Their diet is made up primarily of bees and other flying insects, and their major hunting strategy involves hawking flying insects from perch. Perches may include branches of vegetation or even the backs of large animals, such as the kori bustard. They are attracted to wildfires because of the flushed insects, and are often seen circling high in the air. They circle larger animals and even cars to catch the insects that are trying to escape.
Habitat and breeding

Its usual habitat included low-altitude river valleys and floodplains, preferring vertical banks suitable for tunneling when breeding, but readily digging vertical burrows in the level surface of small salt islands. This is a highly sociable species, gathering in large flocks, in or out of breeding season. They roost communally in trees or reedbeds, and disperse widely during the day. Nesting is at the end of a 1 to 2 meter long burrow in an earthen bank, where they lay from 2 to 5 eggs.

Roosting in Phragmites reedbed
Hunting over a kori bustard
Hunting over a pair of ground hornbills
Adult with juvenile
Juvenile plumage
Juvenile with Belonogaster wasp prey


BirdLife International (2016). "Merops nubicoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22683772A93000205. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22683772A93000205.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th edition (John Voelcker Fund, 1993) ISBN 0-620-17583-4

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