Merops is the largest of the three genera of bee-eaters, and includes 23 of the 26 species. These bee-eaters are found in the warmer climes of the Old World, from Europe to Australia, but mostly in Africa. They are brightly coloured birds which catch and eat flying insects. A large proportion of their diet - as the name suggests - is made up of bees and wasps. Bee-eaters remove the sting before they eat their prey by hitting and rubbing it against a hard surface.
Scientific name: Merops
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
Merops is a large genus of bee-eaters, a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. The members of this Old World family are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. They predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air.
All bee-eaters are in the genus Merops and subfamily Meropinae except for three Asiatic bearded bee-eaters in the subfamily Nyctyornithinae (in genera Nyctyornis and Meropogon).
The species in Merops are: