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Alcedinidae

Kingfisher
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea ©Craig Brelsford Website

Alcedinidae are a group of small to medium-sized, brightly colored birds in the order Coraciiformes. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, with most species found outside of the Americas. The group is treated either as a single family, or as a suborder Alcedines containing three families, Alcedinidae (river kingfishers), Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers), and Cerylidae (water kingfishers).

114 species of kingfishers are described. All have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. Most species have bright plumage with few differences between the sexes. Most species are tropical in distribution, and a slight majority are found only in forests. They consume a wide range of prey, as well as fish, usually caught by swooping down from a perch. While kingfishers are usually thought to live near rivers and eat fish, most species live away from water and eat small invertebrates. Like other members of their order, they nest in cavities, usually tunnels dug into the natural or artificial banks in the ground. A quarter of all kingfishers nest in abandoned termite nests. A few species, principally insular forms, are threatened with extinction. In Britain, the word 'kingfisher' normally refers to the common kingfisher.

The smallest species of kingfisher is the African Dwarf Kingfisher Ispidina lecontei, which averages 10.4g and 10 cm. The largest overall is the Giant KingfisherMegaceryle maxima, at an average of 355g and 45 cm. However, the familiar Australian kingfisher known as the Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae may be the heaviest species, since individuals exceeding 450g are not rare.

The plumage of most kingfishers is bright, with green and blue being the most common colours. The brightness of the colours is neither the product of iridescence (except in the American kingfishers) or pigments, but is instead caused by the structure of the feathers, which causes scattering of blue light (the Tyndall effect). In most species, no overt differences between the sexes exist; when differences occur, they are quite small (less than 10%).

The kingfishers have long, dagger-like bills. The bill is usually longer and more compressed in species that hunt fish, and shorter and more broad in species that hunt prey off the ground. The largest and most atypical bill is that of the Shovel-billed Kookaburra, which is used to dig through the forest floor in search of prey. Species generally have short legs, although species that feed on the ground have longer tarsi. Most species have four toes, three of which are forward-pointing.

The irises of most species are dark brown. The kingfishers have excellent vision; they are capable of binocular vision and are thought in particular to have good colour vision. They have restricted movement of their eyes within the eye sockets, instead using head movements to track prey. In addition, they are capable of compensating for the refraction of water and reflection when hunting prey underwater, and are able to judge depth under water accurately. They also have nictitating membranes that cover the eyes to protect them when they hit the water; the pied kingfisher has a bony plate which slides across the eye when it hits the water.

The kingfishers have a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring throughout the world's tropical and temperate regions. They are absent from the polar regions and some of the world's driest deserts. A number of species have reached islands groups, particularly those in the south and east Pacific Ocean. The Old World tropics and Australasia are the core areas for this group. Europe and North America north of Mexico are very poorly represented, with only one common kingfisher species (Common Kingfisher and Belted Kingfisher respectively), and a couple of uncommon or very local species each: (Ringed Kingfisher and Green Kingfisher in the southwestern United States, Pied Kingfisher and White-throated Kingfisher in southeastern Europe). The six species occurring in the Americas are four closely related green kingfishers in the genus Chloroceryle and two large crested kingfishers in the genus Megaceryle. Even tropical South America has only five species plus the wintering Belted Kingfisher. In comparison, the African country of the Gambia has eight resident species in its 193 by 32 km area.

Individual species may have massive ranges, like the Common Kingfisher, which ranges from Ireland across Europe, North Africa, and Asia as far as the Solomon Islands in Australasia, or the Pied Kingfisher, which has a widespread distribution across Africa and Asia. Other species have much smaller ranges, particularly insular species which are endemic to single small islands. The Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher is restricted to the island of Kofiau off New Guinea.

Kingfishers occupy a wide range of habitats. While they are often associated with rivers and lakes, over half the world's species are found in forests and forested streams. They also occupy a wide range of other habitats. The Red-backed Kingfisher of Australia lives in the driest deserts, although kingfishers are absent from other dry deserts like the Sahara. Other species live high in mountains, or in open woodland, and a number of species live on tropical coral atolls. Numerous species have adapted to human-modified habitats, particularly those adapted to woodlands, and may be found in cultivated and agricultural areas, as well as parks and gardens in towns and cities.

Kingfishers feed on a wide variety of prey. They are most famous for hunting and eating fish, and some species do specialise in catching fish, but other species take crustaceans, frogs and other amphibians, annelid worms, molluscs, insects, spiders, centipedes, reptiles (including snakes), and even birds and mammals. Individual species may specialise in a few items or take a wide variety of prey, and for species with large global distributions, different populations may have different diets. Woodland and forest kingfishers take mainly insects, particularly grasshoppers, whereas the water kingfishers are more specialised in taking fish. The Red-backed Kingfisher has been observed hammering into the mud nests of Fairy Martins to feed on their nestlings.

Kingfishers usually hunt from an exposed perch; when a prey item is observed, the kingfisher swoops down to snatch it, then returns to the perch. Kingfishers of all three sub-families beat larger prey on a perch to kill the prey and to dislodge or break protective spines and bones. Having beaten the prey, it is manipulated and then swallowed. The Shovel-billed Kookaburra uses its massive, wide bill as a shovel to dig for worms in soft mud.

Kingfishers are territorial, some species defending their territories vigorously. They are generally monogamous, although cooperative breeding has been observed in some species and is quite common in others, for example the Laughing Kookaburra, where helpers aid the dominant breeding pair in raising the young.

Like all Coraciiformes, the kingfishers are cavity nesters, with most species nesting in holes dug in the ground. These holes are usually in earth banks on the sides of rivers, lakes or man-made ditches. Some species may nest in holes in trees, the earth clinging to the roots of an uprooted tree, or arboreal nests of termites (termitarium). These termite nests are common in forest species. The nests take the form of a small chamber at the end of a tunnel. Nest-digging duties are shared between the sexes. During the initial excavations, the bird may fly at the chosen site with considerable force, and birds have injured themselves fatally while doing this. The length of the tunnels varies by species and location; nests in termitariums are necessarily much shorter than those dug into the earth, and nests in harder substrates are shorter than those in soft soil or sand. The longest tunnels recorded are those of the giant kingfisher, which have been found to be 8.5 m long.

The eggs of kingfishers are invariably white and glossy. The typical clutch size varies by species; some of the very large and very small species lay as few as two eggs per clutch, whereas others may lay 10 eggs, the typical is around three to six eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs. The offspring of the kingfisher usually stay with the parents for 3–4 months.

There are, according to the IOC 114 species of Kingfishers in the family Alcedinidae; they are:

Green-backed Kingfisher Actenoides monachus
Scaly-breasted Kingfisher Actenoides princeps
Moustached Kingfisher Actenoides bougainvillei
Spotted Wood Kingfisher Actenoides lindsayi
Hombron's Kingfisher Actenoides hombroni
Rufous-collared Kingfisher Actenoides concretus

Hook-billed Kingfisher Melidora macrorrhina

Banded Kingfisher Lacedo pulchella

Common Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea
Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera ellioti
Biak Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera riedelii
Numfor Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera carolinae
Little Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera hydrocharis
Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia
Black-capped Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera nigriceps
Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera nympha
Brown-headed Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera danae

Lilac Kingfisher Cittura cyanotis

Shovel-billed Kookaburra Clytoceyx rex

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae
Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii
Spangled Kookaburra Dacelo tyro
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra Dacelo gaudichaud

Glittering Kingfisher Caridonax fulgidus

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis
Great-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis melanorhyncha
Brown-winged Kingfisher Pelargopsis amauroptera

Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Javan Kingfisher Halcyon cyanoventris
Chocolate-backed Kingfisher Halcyon badia
Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata
Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala
Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris
Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti
Blue-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon malimbica
Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis
Mangrove Kingfisher Halcyon senegaloides

Blue-black Kingfisher Todiramphus nigrocyaneus
Winchell's Kingfisher Todiramphus winchelli
Blue-and-white Kingfisher Todiramphus diops
Lazuli Kingfisher Todiramphus lazuli
Forest Kingfisher Todiramphus macleayii
White-mantled Kingfisher Todiramphus albonotatus
Ultramarine Kingfisher Todiramphus leucopygius
Vanuatu Kingfisher Todiramphus farquhari
Sombre Kingfisher Todiramphus funebris
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
Torresian Kingfisher Todiramphus sordidus
Islet Kingfisher Todiramphus colonus
Mariana Kingfisher Todiramphus albicilla
Melanesian Kingfisher Todiramphus tristrami
Pacific Kingfisher Todiramphus sacer
Talaud Kingfisher Todiramphus enigma
Guam Kingfisher Todiramphus cinnamominus
Rusty-capped Kingfisher Todiramphus pelewensis
Pohnpei Kingfisher Todiramphus reichenbachii
Beach Kingfisher Todiramphus saurophagus
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus
Flat-billed Kingfisher Todiramphus recurvirostris
Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher Todiramphus australasia
Chattering Kingfisher Todiramphus tutus
Mewing Kingfisher Todiramphus ruficollaris
Society Kingfisher Todiramphus veneratus
Mangareva Kingfisher Todiramphus gambieri
Niau Kingfisher Todiramphus gertrudae
Marquesan Kingfisher Todiramphus godeffroyi
Red-backed Kingfisher Todiramphus pyrrhopygius

Yellow-billed Kingfisher Syma torotoro
Mountain Kingfisher Syma megarhyncha

African Dwarf Kingfisher Ispidina lecontei
African Pygmy Kingfisher Ispidina picta

Madagascan Pygmy Kingfisher Corythornis madagascariensis
White-bellied Kingfisher Corythornis leucogaster
Malachite Kingfisher Corythornis cristatus
Malagasy Kingfisher Corythornis vintsioides

Cerulean Kingfisher Alcedo coerulescens
Blue-banded Kingfisher Alcedo euryzona
Shining-blue Kingfisher Alcedo quadribrachys
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Half-collared Kingfisher Alcedo semitorquata
Blyth's Kingfisher Alcedo hercules

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca
Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx melanurus
Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx fallax
Moluccan Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx lepidus
Dimorphic Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx margarethae
Sula Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx wallacii
Buru Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx cajeli
Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx solitarius
Manus Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx dispar
New Ireland Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx mulcatus
New Britain Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx sacerdotis
North Solomons Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx meeki
New Georgia Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx collectoris
Malaita Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx malaitae
Guadalcanal Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx nigromaxilla
Makira Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx gentianus
Indigo-banded Kingfisher Ceyx cyanopectus
Southern Silvery Kingfisher Ceyx argentatus
Northern Silvery Kingfisher Ceyx flumenicola
Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus
Bismarck Kingfisher Ceyx websteri
Little Kingfisher Ceyx pusillus

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher Chloroceryle inda
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona

Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris
Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maxima
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

Family Links

Kingfishers Alcedinidae

Family Account

Background on 92 species…

Kingfishers Alcedinidae

HBW Family Account

Annotated species list

Kingfishers Alcedinidae

Cornell Family Account

Limited to N American species

Kingfishers Alcedinidae

Family Account

The group is treated either as a single family, the Alcedinidae, or as a suborder Alcedines containing three families, Alcedinidae (river kingfishers), Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers), and Cerylidae (water kingfishers).

Species Links

African Pygmy-Kingfisher Ispidina picta

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

African Pygmy-Kingfisher Ispidina picta

Species Account

The African pygmy kingfisher (Ispidina picta) is a small insectivorous kingfisher found in the Afrotropics, mostly in woodland habitats. Some texts refer to this species as Ceyx pictus.

African Pygmy-Kingfisher Ispidina picta

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona

Cornell Species Account

The Amazon Kingfisher is a resident of lakeshores and large-slow flowing rivers from northern Mexico south to central Argentina.

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona

Species Account

The Amazon kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) is a resident breeding kingfisher in the lowlands of the American tropics from southern Mexico south through Central America to northern Argentina.

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea

BirdLife Species Account

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea

Cornell Species Account

This tiny kingfisher is sparse, though perhaps often overlooked, throughout its large range in tropical lowlands. They are found along quiet streams in forest interior, as well as flooded várzea and swampy edges of lakes.

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Alcedo aenea Pallas, 1764, Suriname. Genetic study indicates that this species is sister to C. americana and C. inda; previously thought possibly to be sister to C. inda on basis of plumage similarities. Two subspecies recognized.

Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea

Species Account

The azure kingfisher (Ceyx azureus) is a small kingfisher (17–19 centimetres (6.7–7.5 in)), in the river kingfisher subfamily, Alcedininae. It is found in Northern and Eastern Australia and Tasmania, as well as the lowlands of New Guinea and neighbouring islands, and out to North Maluku and Romang.

Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea

Species Account

The Azure Kingfisher is a small kingfisher with a long slender black bill and a short tail. The head, neck, upper parts and breast sides are deep azure blue with a violet (purplish) sheen.

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

Cornell Species Account

With its top-heavy physique, energetic flight, and piercing rattle, the Belted Kingfisher seems to have an air of self-importance as it patrols up and down rivers and shorelines.

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

HBW Species Account

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

BirdLife Species Account

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

Species Account

The belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) is a large, conspicuous water kingfisher, the only member of that group commonly found in the northern United States and Canada

Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Alcedo pileata Boddaert, 1783, China. Closely related to H. leucocephala. Monotypic.

Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata

BirdLife Species Account

Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata

Species Account

The black-capped kingfisher (Halcyon pileata) is a tree kingfisher which is widely distributed in tropical Asia from India east to China, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii

Species Account

The blue-winged kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) is a large species of kingfisher native to northern Australia and southern New Guinea.

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii

Species Account

The Blue-winged Kookaburra is a large kingfisher with a big square head and a long bill. It has a distinctive pale eye. The head is off-white with brown streaks, the shoulders are sky blue and it has a uniform blue rump.

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii

Image

Sound recordings and images

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii

BirdLife Species Account

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Dacelo leachii Vigors and Horsfield, 1827, Keppel Bay, eastern Australia. Racial differentiation difficult to assess, as distribution almost continuous and plumage colours affected by environmental factors (darker in wetter areas); treated as comprising variously from one to up to five races in Australia. Proposed race mungi, formerly united with occidentalis, now included within nominate; cliftoni is synonym of occidentalis; superflua from S New Guinea and kempi from N Queensland (Cape York Peninsula) are insufficiently distinct to be accepted. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris

Species Account

The brown-hooded kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris) is a species of bird in the subfamily Halcyoninae. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Alcedo albiventris Scopoli, 1786, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. W populations described as separate race, hylophila, on basis of slightly darker coloration, but considered insufficiently distinct from prentissgrayi; population from S Somalia and NE Kenya described as race erlangeri, but apparently indistinguishable from orientalis. Four subspecies recognized.

Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris

BirdLife Species Account

Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia

Species Account

The buff-breasted paradise-kingfisher (Tanysiptera sylvia) is a bird in the tree kingfisher subfamily, Halcyoninae.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia

BirdLife Species Account

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia

HBW Species Account

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia

Species Account

Size - 30-35cm, including tail streamers. Forehead, crown and shoulders royal blue, lower rump and long central tail feather white, black band through eye and extending to nape and lower back, underparts rich apricot and bill, legs bright orange-red. Female often with bent and broken tail feathers during breeding season. Juvenile duller with short tail feathers and a black bill.

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris

Species Account

he collared kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) is a medium-sized kingfisher belonging to the subfamily Halcyoninae, the tree kingfishers. It is also known as the white-collared kingfisher or mangrove kingfisher.

Collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris

BirdLife Species Account

Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris

IUCN Species Status

Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Alcedo Chloris Boddaert, 1783, Cape of Good Hope; error = Buru. Closely related to T. enigma and to T. cinnamominus (and taxa formerly included within it); former has been treated as conspecific, but lives alongside present species without hybridizing. Close also to T. sanctus and T. tutus, and some of the races listed below may be better placed in one of these, e.g. regina, vitiensis and eximius sometimes placed in former, whereas pealei, manuae, marinus and sacer may be better considered subspecies of latter. Of numerous races named, some (e.g. albicilla) are distinctive but several others doubtfully valid; further detailed research, re-evaluation and revision desirable. Fifty subspecies currently recognized.

Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Species Account

The common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) also known as the Eurasian kingfisher, and river kingfisher, is a small kingfisher with seven subspecies recognized within its wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa. It is resident in much of its range, but migrates from areas where rivers freeze in winter.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

RSPB Species Account

Kingfishers are small unmistakable bright blue and orange birds of slow moving or still water.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

BirdLife Species Account

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris

Species Account

The crested kingfisher (Megaceryle lugubris) is a very large kingfisher that is native to parts of southern Asia, stretching eastwards from the Indian Subcontinent towards Japan.

Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris

BirdLife Species Account

Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Alcedo lugubris Temminck, 1834, Nagasaki, Japan. Forms a group with M. maxima, M. torquata and M. alcyon. Race continentalis rather poorly differentiated, and often merged with guttulata. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris

IUCN Species Status

Forest Kingfisher Todirhamphus macleayii

Species Account

The forest kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii), also known as the Macleay's or blue kingfisher, is a species of kingfisher in the subfamily Halcyoninae, also known as tree kingfishers. It is a predominantly blue and white bird. It is found in Indonesia, New Guinea and coastal eastern and northern Australia. Like many other kingfishers, it hunts invertebrates and small frogs and lizards.

Forest Kingfisher Todirhamphus macleayii

Species Account

The Forest Kingfisher has a dark royalblue head with pale turquoise on the back.There is a large white spot over the bill. The underparts are white.

Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maxima

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maxima

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maxima

Species Account

The giant kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) is the largest kingfisher in Africa, where it is a resident breeding bird over most of the continent south of the Sahara Desert other than the arid southwest.

Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maxima

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Glittering Kingfisher Caridonax fulgidus

Species Account

The glittering kingfisher or white-rumped kingfisher (Caridonax fulgidus) is a species of bird in the Alcedinidae family. It is monotypic within the genus Caridonax.[2] It is endemic to Indonesia, where its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.…

Glittering Kingfisher Caridonax fulgidus

HBW Species Account

Species account...

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana

Species Account

The green kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana) is a resident breeding bird which occurs from southern Texas in the United States south through Central and South America to central Argentina.

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana

Cornell Species Account

A widespread resident of the Neotropics, the Green Kingfisher can be found from south Texas and southeastern Arizona in the United States south to northern Chile and Argentina.

Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala

IUCN Species Status

IUCN species profile

Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala

HBW Species Account

HBW species account

Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala

IBC Species Account

IBC species account

Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile

Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala

Species Account

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey-headed_kingfisher

Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

Species Account

The laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a carnivorous bird in the kingfisher subfamily Halcyoninae. Native to eastern mainland Australia, it has also been introduced to parts of New Zealand, Tasmania, and Western Australia. Male and female adults are similar in plumage, which is predominantly brown and white. A common and familiar bird, this species of kookaburra is well known for its laughing call.

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

Species Account

The Laughing Kookaburra is instantly recognisable in both plumage and voice. It is generally off-white below, faintly barred with dark brown, and brown on the back and wings. The tail is more rufous, broadly barred with black. There is a conspicuous dark brown eye-stripe through the face. It is one of the larger members of the kingfisher family.

Little Kingfisher Alcedo pusilla

Species Account

The little kingfisher (Ceyx pusillus) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is found in open forest, woodland, swamps and mangroves in Australia (northern Queensland and north Northern Territory), Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Little Kingfisher Alcedo pusilla

BirdLife Species Account

Little Kingfisher Alcedo pusilla

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Ceyx pusilla Temminck, 1836, Lobo, Triton Bay, New Guinea. Previously placed in genus Alcedo or sometimes in Alcyone. Recent molecular study, however, found that this species formed a clade with C. azureus and C. websteri and that this clade was sister to the C. erithaca species-group (see above). Nine subspecies recognized.

Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata

BirdLife Species Account

Full species account...

Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata

Species Account

The malachite kingfisher (Corythornis cristatus) is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate-related movements.

Micronesian Kingfisher Todirhamphus cinnamominus

Species Account

The Micronesian Kingfisher, Todiramphus cinnamominus, is a species of kingfisher from the Pacific Islands of Guam, Pohnpei and Palau. One of its subspecies, the Guam Kingfisher, is restricted to a captive breeding program following its extinction in the wild due to the introduced brown tree snake…

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

BirdLife Species Account

Full species account...

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

Species Account

The pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is a water kingfisher and is found widely distributed across Africa and Asia. Its black and white plumage, crest and the habit of hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish make it distinctive. Males have a double band across the breast while females have a single gorget that is often broken in the middle. They are usually found in pairs or small family parties. When perched, they often bob their head and flick up their tail.

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata

Cornell Species Account

The Ringed Kingfisher is the largest kingfisher in the Americas. Its heavy, pale-based bill, disheveled crest, blue-gray plumage, white collar, and red belly are visible and recognizable even at a distance.

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata

Species Account

The ringed kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) is a large, conspicuous and noisy kingfisher commonly found along the lower Rio Grande valley in southeasternmost Texas in the United States through Central America to Tierra del Fuego in South America.

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata

BirdLife Species Account

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata

HBW Species Account

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda

Species Account

The ruddy kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda) is a medium-sized tree kingfisher which is widely distributed in east and southeast Asia, ranging from South Korea and Japan in the north, south through the Philippines to the Sunda Islands, and west to China and India.

Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Sacred Kingfisher Todirhamphus sanctus

Species Account

The sacred kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) is a medium-sized woodland kingfisher that occurs in mangroves, woodlands, forests, and river valleys in Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the western Pacific. In New Zealand the species is also known by its Māori name kōtare.

Sacred Kingfisher Todirhamphus sanctus

Species Account

The Sacred Kingfisher is a medium sized kingfisher. It has a turquoise back, turquoise blue rump and tail, buff-white underparts and a broad cream collar.

Sacred Kingfisher Todirhamphus sanctus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Spangled Kookaburra Dacelo tyro

Species Account

The spangled kookaburra (Dacelo tyro) also called Aru giant kingfisher, is a little-known, but spectacular species of kookaburra found in the Aru Islands, Trans Fly savanna and grasslands of southern New Guinea and Australia. It has bright blue wings and tail, a white chest and belly, dark eyes, and a striking white-spotted black head. Practically nothing is known of its family life or breeding biology.

Spangled Kookaburra Dacelo tyro

HBW Species Account

Spangled Kookaburra Dacelo tyro

BirdLife Species Account

Spangled Kookaburra Dacelo tyro

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis

Species Account

The stork-billed kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis, formerly Halcyon capensis), is a tree kingfisher which is widely but sparsely distributed in the tropical Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, from India to Indonesia. This kingfisher is resident throughout its range.

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis

IUCN Species Status

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis

HBW Species Account

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis

BirdLife Species Account

Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti

HBW Species Account

HBW species account…

Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti

Species Account

The striped kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti) is a species of bird in the tree kingfisher subfamily. It was first described by Edward, Lord Stanley, in Salt's Voyage to Abyssinia.

Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Alcedo smyrnensis Linnaeus, 1758, Izmir, west Turkey. Closely related to H. cyanoventris, and sometimes considered conspecific, but recently found to overlap in range in W Java without interbreeding. Until recently, treated as conspecific with H. gularis. Races perpulchra and fokiensis very similar to and often synonymized with fusca, but perhaps worthy of recognition; further study desirable. Five subspecies currently recognized.

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

Species Account

The white-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) also known as the white-breasted kingfisher or Smyrna kingfisher, is a tree kingfisher,[2] widely distributed in Asia from Turkey east through the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines.

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis

Species Account

The woodland kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis) is a tree kingfisher.

Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 114

Useful Reading

Kingfisher

by David Chandler and Ian Llewellyn | New Holland | Hardcover | 128 Pages | 80 Colour Illustrations | September 2010 | £12.99
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781847735249

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Kingfishers

Charlie Hamilton James, Colin Baxter, Photography, 1997

Kingfishers

John Young Wildlife Enterprises

Kingfishers and Kookaburras

by David Hollands Published by Reed New Holland in 1999 Hardcover

ISBN: 1876334320

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Kingfishers, Bee-eaters & Rollers

by C Hiliary Fry, Kathie Fry & Alan Harris Helm 1992

ISBN: 0713680288

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Other Links

Kingfishers

Website

Images of a number of species

Kingfishers and their related birds

Website

Some images…

Kingfishers: Common, Pied, Kookaburra

Website

Images

Micronesian Kingfisher Todirhamphus cinnamominus Study

Website

Behavioral Ecology of the Micronesian Kingfisher in Pohnpei: Use of a Surrogate Subspecies in the Recovery of Kingfishers from Guam…

Photographers & Artists

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona

Gallery

Excellent image

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona

Gallery

Excellent image

American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea

Gallery

Good image

Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea

Gallery

Excellent images

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

Gallery

Excellent image

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

Gallery

[Painted] Image

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon

Gallery

Lots of [digiscoped] images

Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata

Gallery

[in-hand] image

Blue-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon malimbica

Gallery

Image

Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting

Gallery

Excellent image

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii

Gallery

Excellent image

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Gallery

Excellent images

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Gallery

Excellent image

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Gallery

Image

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Gallery

Image

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana

Gallery

Image

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

Gallery

excellent image of pair

Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata

Wiki

The malachite kingfisher (Alcedo cristata) is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate related movements...

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

Wiki

The pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is a water kingfisher and is found widely distributed across Africa and Asia. Its black and white plumage, crest and the habit of hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish makes it distinctive. Males have a double band across the breast while females have a single gorget that is often broken in the middle. They are usually found in pairs or small family parties. When perched, they often bob their head and flick up their tail....

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

Gallery

Image

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

Gallery

Image

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

Gallery

Images

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata

Gallery

Fine image

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata

Gallery

Image

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata

Gallery

Excellent image

Sacred Kingfisher Todirhamphus sanctus

Gallery

Excellent images

Shining Blue Kingfisher Alcedo quadribrachys

Gallery

Species account with image…

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis

Gallery

Totally stunning image!

Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti

HBW

Previously placed in monospecific genus Chelicutia. Races intergrade; a certain amount of geographical variation in dorsal coloration does not seem sufficient to warrant recognition of proposed races hylobia (W Zaire, NW Angola) and damarensis (S Angola E to Mozambique and Transvaal). Two subspecies currently recognised…

White-bellied Kingfisher Alcedo leucogaster

Gallery

Species accounts…

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

Gallery

Excellent image

Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis

Gallery

Excellent [in-hand] image

Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis

Gallery

Excellent image