Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)

The Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is the only species of Meropidae found in Australia.  They are brilliantly colored birds that grow to be 19–24 cm (max 28 cm) in length, including the elongated tail feathers.

IMG_4441 IMG_4445a Close up from Wikipedia.


Rainbow bee-eaters are a common species and can be found during the summer in forested areas in most of southern Australia excluding Tasmania. They migrate north during the winter into northern Australia, New Guinea, and some of the southern islands of Indonesia.  They may be found in open woodlands, beaches, dunes, cliffs, mangroves, woodlands and they often visits parks and private gardens.  The first two photos above were taken at the watering hole near the Dryandra Village.  They were quite entertaining as they whizzed down for a drink at the speed of light!  Dryandra Woodlands is an easy 2 hour drive from Perth.


Known to the Noongar as “birranga”, the bee-eater’s beauty and character set it apart from other birds and it is the traditional totem of an important family group in the eastern Wheatbelt..

An Aboriginal Dreaming story tells how birds came into being when a rainbow shattered and its colourful shards fell to earth, and the basis for such a tale can be appreciated in the rainbow bee-eater’s startling yet muted oranges, gauzy greens, powder-puff blues and soft yellows.





Australian Wildlife Conservancy


Nice close up footage eating an insect

Feeding chicks in a nest