African green bee-eater Hatem Moushir CC by SA 3.0

African green bee-eater

The African green bee-eater’s range is shown on the map. The green areas are where it is regularly seen, while the blue shows places it is sometimes found. Its range has expanded north over the last few decades.

In 1990, the 3 green bee-eater species were combined into one, however they were once again split in 2014 by the IUCN. A further genetic study found significant differences, leading to the rest of the world to recognize the splits in 2021.

There are thought to be three subspecies:

  • M. v. viridissimus: most of Africa from Senegal east to Ethiopia
  • M. v. flavoviridis: Chad to eastern Sudan
  • M. v. cleopatra: northern Sudan and Nile Valley of Egypt

Semi-arid areas of Africa are  their range. This largely matches with the Sahel, which is a semi desert area which expands from the bush of Kenya into the Sahara, and true desert areas, and ranges across the whole width of Africa.

Agriculture, and the increased quantity of water that comes with it have greatly benefited the species, and the wild numbers have therefore increased. The spread into Egypt, right up to the Nile, appear to have been as a result of this change.


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