Family Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Least Concern

Arabian Green Bee-eater (Merops cyanophrys)


French: Guêpier à sourcils bleus German: Arabiensmaragdspint Spanish: Abejaruco esmeralda árabe

Philothrus cyanophrys

Cabanis and Heine

, 1860,

Arabia = mountains of Al Qunfudhah, south-western Saudi Arabia


Usually treated as conspecific with M. viridissimus and M. orientalis, but differs from both in its very short stub-ended central tail feathers (effect size against next shortest, orientalis, −3.99, score 2); bright blue forehead, supercilium and throat, and bluer lower belly (3); broader, smudgier black breast-bar (2); marginally larger size and clearly longer tail (minus the tail extensions) than the other taxa (at least 1). Proposed race najdanus (from C Arabian plateau) now included within muscatensis. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. c. cyanophrys (Cabanis & Heine, 1860) – S Israel, W Jordan and W & S Arabian coasts.
  • M. c. muscatensis Sharpe, 1886 – C Arabian plateau and E Arabia (E Yemen to Oman and United Arab Emirates).
  • Descriptive notes

    16–18 cm (with streamers, up to 2·3 cm more); 15–20 g. Previously considered conspecific with both M. orientalis (of S & SE Asia) and M.... read more


    No reported differences from M. orientalis: described calls in Arabia include a high-... read more


    In habits open country with trees, including semi-desert areas, wadis, cultivated areas (including... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet in Arabia reported to include bees, wasps, flies, moths, beetles, ticks, locusts and dragonflies. In United Arab Emirates, pairs... read more


    Eggs laid in Mar–May, occasionally also in Jul, and nest excavation has also been observed in Nov and Dec, and young in nest in Jan. Breeds... read more


    Generally considered to be resident, although vagrants have been recorded in Bahrain, Iraq and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common to fairly common over wide range. During 1960s and 1970s it invaded new areas in Arava Valley, Israel, following... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Arabian Green Bee-eater (Merops cyanophrys). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 April 2019).