09 September 2022

Arabian Green Bee-eater

Whilst birding the southwest recently I came across quite a few Arabian Green Bee-eaters in various locations, a species that is a common breeding resident. They are more easily seen in the mountains and often occur in wadies where they use trees and shrubs as lookouts for prey. The Arabian Green Bee-eater was previously treated as conspecific with M. viridissimus and M. orientalis, but differs from both in its very short stub-ended central tail feathers; bright blue forehead, supercilium and throat, and bluer lower belly; broader, smudgy black breast-bar; marginally larger size and clearly longer tail (minus the tail extensions) than the other taxa. The new species has two proposed subspecies M. c. cyanophrys occurring from southern Israel to western Jordan and west and south Arabian coasts of Saudi Arabia and M. c. muscatensis occurring from central Arabian plateau and east Arabia (E Yemen to Oman and United Arab Emirates). Arabian Green Bee-eater is not difficult to see in the southwest where M. c. cyanophrys is the subspecies.