Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti ranges India to Greater Sundas, with nominate breeding western Yunnan. Only Merops bee-eater in China lacking elongated central tail feathers. Ear coverts and forehead to mantle bright chestnut. Black eye-stripe. Wings mainly green with some blue, and black trailing edge. Tail green; rump and uppertail coverts pale blue. Sides of face, chin, and throat yellow, bordered chestnut below; gorget black. Rest of underparts pale green, almost whitish on undertail coverts. Juvenile green from forehead to mantle. Iris dark chestnut. Bill black; feet brown. Bulbul-like, bubbling trill. — Craig Brelsford

THE BEE-EATERS OF CHINA has research on all six species in the family Meropidae in China. Click any link below:

Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni
Asian Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
Blue-tailed Bee-eater M. philippinus
Blue-throated Bee-eater M. viridis
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater M. leschenaulti
European Bee-eater M. apiaster


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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