Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater (Merops hirundineus) - HBW 6, p. 331

French: Guêpier à queue d’aronde German: Schwalbenschwanzspint Spanish: Abejaruco Golondrina

Taxonomy: Merops hirundineus A. A. H. Lichtenstein, 1793, Oranje River, South Africa.
Has been placed in monotypic genus Dicrocercus on account of its tail shape; this appears, however, to be merely an exaggeration of the incipiently fish-tailed shape shown by M. pusillus, M. variegatus and M. oreobates, to which all other morphological and biological characters indicate present species to be closely allied. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • chrysolaimus Jardine & Selby, 1830 - Senegal E to N Central African Republic.
  • heuglini (Neumann, 1906) - NE Zaire, N Uganda, S Sudan and SW Ethiopia.
  • furcatus Stanley, 1814 - S Zaire, N Tanzania and SE Kenya S to C Angola and Mozambique.
  • hirundineus A. A. H. Lichtenstein, 1793 - S Angola, SW Zambia and W Zimbabwe S to S South Africa (Cape Province).