European bee-eater Merops apiaster, photographed by Vadim Onishchenko.

Belongs within: Coraciimorphae.
Contains: Coracioidea, Alcedines.

The Coraciiformes are a clade of insectivorous or carnivorous birds supported by molecular analysis. Members of this group exhibit syndactyly (fusion) of at least part of the length of the third and fourth toes. They include the Meropidae, bee-eaters, which are slender, colourful birds with long, acute, down-curved bills found in warmer regions of the Old World.

    |--+--Primobucco PB15 [Primobucconidae M05]
    |  |    |--*P. mcgrewi Brodkorb 1970 M09
    |  |    |--P. frugilegus Mayr, Mourer-Chauviré & Weldig 2004 M09
    |  |    `--P. perneri Mayr, Mourer-Chauviré & Weldig 2004 M09
    |  `--+--Coracioidea MM-C00
    |     `--Eocoracias Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré 2000 [Eocoraciidae] MM-C00
    |          `--*E. brachyptera Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré 2000 MM-C00
    `--Alcediniformes [Alcedinides] M04
         |--Quasisyndactylus Mayr 1998 M04
         |    `--*Q. longibrachis Mayr 1998 M02
         `--+--Alcedines M04
            `--Meropidae [Meropes, Meropides] M04
                 |--Nyctyornis Jardine & Selby 1830 JT12, B94 [Nyctiornithidae]
                 |    |--N. amictus JT12
                 |    `--N. athertoni JT12
                 |--Melittophagus FP64
                 |    |--M. bullockoides FP64
                 |    `--M. bulocki A61
                 `--Merops Linnaeus 1758 M02 (see below for synonymy)
                      |  i. s.: M. aegyptius S66
                      |         M. cafer Linnaeus 1758 L58
                      |         M. cinereus Linnaeus 1758 L58
                      |         M. nubicoides JT12
                      |         M. quinticolor W66
                      |         M. radoboyensis (Meyer 1865) (see below for synonymy) M02
                      |         M. revoilii JT12
                      |         M. savignyi S66
                      |         M. vaillantii S66
                      |--+--M. breweri JT12
                      |  `--+--Meropogon forsteni JT12
                      |     `--+--M. bullockoides JT12
                      |        `--M. bulocki JT12
                      `--+--M. boehmi BKB15
                         `--+--+--+--M. gularis BKB15
                            |  |  `--M. muelleri JT12
                            |  `--+--M. hirundineus JT12
                            |     `--+--M. pusillus BKB15
                            |        `--+--M. oreobates BKB15
                            |           `--M. variegatus BKB15
                            `--+--M. albicollis BKB15
                               `--+--M. malimbicus JT12
                                  `--+--M. nubicus JT12
                                     `--+--+--M. orientalis JT12
                                        |  `--+--M. leschenaulti JT12
                                        |     `--M. viridis Linnaeus 1758 JT12, L58
                                        |          |--M. v. viridis W66
                                        |          `--M. v. ferrugiceps Hodgson 1844 W66
                                        `--+--+--M. apiaster Linnaeus 1758 JT12, L58
                                           |  `--M. ornatus Latham 1901 JT12, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
                                           `--+--M. philippinus JT12
                                              `--+--M. persicus JT12
                                                 `--M. superciliosus JT12

Merops Linnaeus 1758 M02 [incl. Apiaster Brisson 1760 B94, Melittotheres Boie 1828 B94, Phlotrus Reichenbach 1852 B94; Apiasteridae, Apiastriidae, Melittotheridae, Phlotridae]

Merops ornatus Latham 1901 JT12, WS48 [incl. M. ornatus shortridgei Mathews 1912 WS48]

Merops radoboyensis (Meyer 1865) [=Fringilla radoboyensis, Batrachites radoboyensis ms, Pelophilus radoboyensis ms] M02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A61] Austin, O. L., Jr. 1961. Birds of the World: A survey of the twenty-seven orders and one hundred and fifty-five families. Paul Hamlyn: London.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[M04] Mayr, G. 2004. New specimens of Hassiavis laticauda (Aves: Cypselomorphae) and Quasisyndactylus longibrachis (Aves: Alcediniformes) from the Middle Eocene of Messel, Germany. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg 252: 23–28.

[M05] Mayr, G. 2005. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe. Biological Reviews 80: 515–542.

[M09] Mayr, G. 2009. Paleogene Fossil Birds. Springer.

[MM-C00] Mayr, G., & C. Mourer-Chauviré. 2000. Rollers (Aves: Coraciiformes s.s.) from the Middle Eocene of Messel (Germany) and the Upper Eocene of Quercy (France). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20 (3): 533–546.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[PB15] Prum, R. O., J. S. Berv, A. Dornburg, D. J. Field, J. P. Townsend, E. M. Lemmon & A. R. Lemmon. 2015. A comprehensive phylogeny of birds (Aves) using targeted next-generation DNA sequencing. Nature 526: 569–573.

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419–426.

[W66] Walden, A. 1866. Notes on birds collected in Tennasserim and in the Andaman Islands. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 537–556.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 5 August 2019.

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