Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus) - HBW 6, p. 337

French: Guêpier de Perse German: Blauwangenspint Spanish: Abejaruco Persa

Taxonomy: Merops persica Pallas, 1773, shores of the Caspian Sea.
Forms a superspecies with M. superciliosus and M. philippinus, and the three taxa have often been regarded as conspecific. Present species, however, shows striking plumage differences from M. superciliosus, and breeds sympatrically with M. philippinus in N Pakistan and India; in some regards, those two species are more similar to each other than either is to present species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • chrysocercus Cabanis & Heine, 1860 - borders of W Sahara, from Morocco to Algeria and from Senegal patchily to L Chad; winters in sub-Saharan W Africa.
  • persicus Pallas, 1773 - Egypt (Nile Delta), N Israel (irregular) and SE Turkey, S to Persian Gulf, and E to N shores of Caspian and Aral Seas, S shores of L Balkhash, N Afghanistan (Hindu Kush) and N & W India (Delhi and Gujarat); winters mainly in E tropical Africa.