Like other bee-eats, it is brightly colored. The color is predominantly green. The face and throat are white with a black crown. A black stripe crosses the eyes. There is a black stripe on the throat. The underside is pale green to blue shading on the chest. The eyes are red. The beak is black.
The bird can reach a length of 19-21 cm, with the exception of two elongated central tail feathers, which can exceed an additional 12 cm. Weight is from 20 to 28 grams.
Breeds colonially on sandy soils. A 1–2-meter tunnel digs tunnels, at the end of which it lays 6 to 7 spherical white eggs. The eggs are cared for by both parents, but there may be up to five helpers to take care of the chicks.
It feeds mainly on insects, preferring flying ants and beetles.