Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Little Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis) - HBW 6, p. 334

French: Guêpier d’Orient German: Smaragdspint Spanish: Abejaruco Esmeralda
Other common names: Least/Small Green Bee-eater

Taxonomy: Merops orientalis Latham, 1801, Mahratta, India.
Relationships uncertain; no obvious close relatives, and affiliations with M. boehmi doubtful. Races fall into three well-defined geographical groups: African viridissimus, flavoviridis and cleopatra; Arabian cyanophrys and muscatensis; and Asian beludschicus, orientalis and ferrugeiceps. Arabian group is the most distinctive and might well be regarded as a species in its own right; in that event, a superspecies of three, namely M. viridissimus, M. cyanophrys and M. orientalis, could be recognized. Race fla.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Merops orientalis Latham, 1801, Mahratta, India.
Relationships uncertain; no obvious close relatives, and affiliations with M. boehmi doubtful. Races fall into three well-defined geographical groups: African viridissimus, flavoviridis and cleopatra; Arabian cyanophrys and muscatensis; and Asian beludschicus, orientalis and ferrugeiceps. Arabian group is the most distinctive and might well be regarded as a species in its own right; in that event, a superspecies of three, namely M. viridissimus, M. cyanophrys and M. orientalis, could be recognized. Race flavoviridis perhaps invalid, as different throat colour thought possibly result of plumage being very fresh or, alternatively, worn. Proposed race nadjanus now included within muscatensis; birmanus is synonym of ferrugeiceps. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • viridissimus Swainson, 1837 - Senegal across to N & C Ethiopia.
  • flavoviridis Niethammer, 1955 - NE Chad (Ennedi) E to Red Sea coast in Sudan.
  • cleopatra Nicoll, 1910 - Nile Valley S to N Sudan.

     See all 8 subspecies
  • viridissimus Swainson, 1837 - Senegal across to N & C Ethiopia.
  • flavoviridis Niethammer, 1955 - NE Chad (Ennedi) E to Red Sea coast in Sudan.
  • cleopatra Nicoll, 1910 - Nile Valley S to N Sudan.
  • cyanophrys (Cabanis & Heine, 1860) - S Israel, and W & S Arabian coasts.
  • muscatensis Sharpe, 1886 - C Arabian plateau and E Arabia.
  • beludschicus Neumann, 1910 - S Iraq E to NW India (W Rajasthan).
  • orientalis Latham, 1801 - W India (Rann of Kachchh) E to Bangladesh and S to Sri Lanka.
  • ferrugeiceps J. Anderson, 1878 - NE India (E Assam) and SC China (Yunnan) to Vietnam.