Family Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Near Threatened

Blue-moustached Bee-eater (Merops mentalis)


French: Guêpier à moustaches German: Türkisbartspint Spanish: Abejaruco cabeciazul occidental

Merops mentalis


, 1889,



Formerly sometimes placed with M. gularis in genus Meropiscus. Has been placed with other small, rounded-winged species lacking tail-streamers in genus Melittophagus (see M. lafresnayii). Hitherto treated as conspecific with M. muelleri, but differs in its blue vs black moustachial area (2); darker blue crown with no white forecrown (2); greenish-blue vs blue tail (2); paler blue underparts (ns[1]); elongate, narrowed and blunt-ended central tail feathers (2); zone of intergradation between R Cross, in Nigeria, and Douala, in Cameroon (2). Birds from Bioko sometimes recognized#R as race marionis#R (here and elsewhere previously misspelt marionensis). Monotypic.


Sierra Leone and SE Guinea to SW Ghana, S Nigeria to W Cameroon, and Bioko.

Descriptive notes

19 cm (with streamers up to 3 cm more); 17.4–30 g. Small, dark, unobtrusive bee-eater of forest interior. Adult has mainly purplish-blue plumage, with rich chestnut mantle,... read more


No known differences from M. muelleri.


No known differences from M. muelleri, being found in evergreen or semi-evergreen... read more

Food and feeding

Diet presumably very similar to that of M. muelleri; butterflies common prey in Sierra Leone. Makes short, fly-catching sorties... read more


Poorly known. Fledglings seen in Feb in Sierra Leone and Ghana (nestlings same month in Cameroon) and Mar in Ivory Coast, eggs in Jan in... read more


Apparently sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently treated as Near Threatened. In Sierra Leone not uncommon in Gola Forest; in Liberia only found in the forested interior, where uncommon (no... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Blue-moustached Bee-eater (Merops mentalis). 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 November 2018).