The Coraciiformes are very colorful birds. They reside mainly in the Old World, but there are also some in the New World. Some include the hornbills and trogons in this order, but that will not be done here.


Kingfishers 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. They are usually separated into three families: Alcedinidae (river kingfishers), Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers), and Cerylidae (water kingfishers). There are roughly 90 species of kingfisher. All have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. 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. Most species have bright plumage with little 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 of the kingfisher species in the world 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.

River Kingfishers

Order Coraciiformes    Family Alcedinidae

The river kingfishers are one of the three families of bird in the kingfisher group. The family is widespread through Africa, through east and south Asia as far as Australia, with one species, the also appearing in Europe and northern Asia. These are brightly plumaged compact birds with short tails, large heads and long bills. They feed on insects or fish, and lay white eggs in a self-excavated burrow. [abstracted from Wikipedia]

Genus Alcedo

Kingfisher, Blue-banded  Alcedo euryzona    Found: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.
The male Blue-banded Kingfisher has white underparts with a blue breast-band; black bill. Female has white throat; rufous breast-band; black upper bill; reddish lower bill.
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) wokoti  3) Mark Benedict - Borneo
1) Left: male Right: female   2) Female  3) Male

Kingfisher, Blue-eared   Alcedo meninting   Found; Indian Subcontinent and southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines
The Blue-eared Kingfisher has blue ear coverts; cobalt-blue upperparts; white neck blaze; rufous underparts.
Similar to: Common Kingfisher. Blue-eared Kingfisher has blue ear coverts; Common Kingfisher may have some blue near ear coverts, but not as much. Common Kingfisher has white freckles on blue head; Blue-eared Kingfisher does not have white freckles.
Image by: 1) ) David Dennis - Malaysia  2) Bernard Dupont

Kingfisher, Blyth's  Alcedo hercules   Found: Asia
The Blyth's Kingfisher has blue back, rump, tail; rufous underparts; green face, neck, wings; white throat, lores; white patch on side of nape.
Image by: 1) Baker

Kingfisher, Cerulean   also   Small Blue Kingfisher   Alcedo coerulescens  Found: Asia, Indonesia
Image by: 1) Lip Kee  2) Aaron Maizlish
1) Male

Kingfisher, Common Alcedo atthis Found: Euope, Asia, Africa, Australia
The European male subspecies Common Kingfisher has azure-blue upperparts; white freckles on azure-blue head; rufous underparts, ear patch; green-blue neck stripe; white throat, neck blaze; black bill with some red at base; red legs. Female identical exept the bill's lower mandible is orange-red with black tip. Other subspecies have a gray back
Similar to: Blue-eared Kingfisher. Blue-eared Kingfisher has blue ear coverts; Common Kingfisher may have some blue near ear coverts, but not as mu
Image by:  1) Ravi Vaidyanathan  2, 3, 4) Lukasz Lukasik  5) Cristiano Crolle - Naole, Italy

Genus Ceyx

Kingfisher, Rufous-backed   Ceyx rufidorsa   Found: southeast Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Phiippines
The Rufous-backed Kingfisher has rufous back, bill; white patch on side of nape.
Image by: 1) Francesco Veronesi - Philippines  2) Mark Benedict

Genus Lacedo - 1 species

Kingfisher, Banded   Lacedo pulchella   Found: southeast Asia, Malaysia
The male Banded Kingfisher has chestnut forehead, cheeks, nape; blue crown; black with light blue bands on upperparts; pale rufous underparts with whitish central belly. Female has black-and-rufous banded upperparts; white underparts with some black bars on breast and flanks.
Image by: 1) Tom Tarrant - Borneo 2) Hyashi Haka  3) Francesco Veronesi - Thailand   4) Jason Thompson - Thailand 
1) Female 2, 3, 4) Male

Water Kingfishers

Order Coraciiformes    Family Cerylidae

The water kingfishers are one of the three families of kingfishers. All American kingfischer species are in this family. These are all fish-eating species, unlike many representatives of the other two families.

Genus Ceryle - 1 species

Kingfisher, Pied Ceryle rudis   Found: Asia (including China and India), Africa
The Pied Kingfisher is black and white. It has upperparts barred in black; white underparts with black breast band; black eye-mask. Male has wide black collar; thin lower breast collar. Female has two separate marks on breast.
Similar to: Crested Kingfisher. Pied Kingfisher has clearly defined neck collar marks; Crested Kingfisher has smudged breast band.
Image by:  1, 2) Arno Meintjes  3) Dick Daniels - Fish Eagle Lodge, Knysna Lagoon, Kenya   4, 5, 6) Dick - St. Lucia, South Africa  
1, 3, 4) Female 

Genus Megaceryle
All are fish eaters. They have prominant head creast; gray or grayish-blue upperparts; white or rufous underparts; underparts pattern always different for the two sexes.

Kingfisher, Crested  also Himalayan Pied Kingfisher  Megaceryle lugubris  Found: Asia
The Crested Kingfisher is very large; has black and white upperparts, crested head; white underparts with black and white breast band. Somtimes there is some rufous on the breast.
Similar to: Pied Kingfisher. Pied Kingfisher has clearly defined neck collar marks; Crested Kingfisher has smudged breast band.
Image by: 1) Caesar Photography   2) Ron Knight

Tree Kingfishers

Order Coraciiformes    Family Halcyonidae

The tree kingfishers are the most numerous of the three families of birds in the kingfisher group. Tree kingfishers are widespread through Asia and Australasia, but also appear in Africa and the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, utilising a range of habitats from tropical rainforest to open woodlands. The tree kingfishers are short-tailed large-headed compact birds with long pointed bills. Most are monogamous and territorial, nesting in holes in trees or termite nests. Although some tree kingfishers frequent wetlands, none are specialist fish-eaters. Most species dive onto prey from a perch, mainly taking slow moving invertebrates or small vertebrates. [abstracted from Wikipedia]

Genus Actenoides

Kingfisher, Rufous-collared   Actenoides concretus  Found: southeast Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia
The Rufous-collared Kingfisher has black eye-line extending to nape; blue patch on side of throat. Male has rufous collar, breast; green crown. Female has green upperparts; speckled wing coverts.
Image by: 1) John Gould  2) Jakob Wijkema  3) Mark Benedict - Borneo  4) Francesco Veronesi - Thailand

Genus Halcyon

Kingfisher, Black-capped  Halcyon pileata  Found: Asia
The Black-capped Kingfisher has blue back, tail; black crown, wings; white neck, throat, breast; rufous belly; red bill, legs.
Image by: 1) JJ Harrison - Thailand  2) Johnny Wee

Kingfisher, Ruddy  Halcyon coromanda  Found: Asia
The Ruddy Kingfisher has a rust-red body which deepens to purple at the tail; red bill; legs
Image by: 1) Yasaiman - Ueno Zoo, Tokyo, Japan  2) Changhua Coast Conservation

Kingfisher, White-throated also White-breasted Kingfisher  Halcyon smyrnensis  Found: Europe, Asia
The White-throated Kingfisher has blue back, wings, tail; chestnut head, shoulders, flanks, lower belly; white throat, breast; red bill, legs.
Image by:  1) Dick Daniels - Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo   2, 3) Dick - San Diego Zoo   4) Shiva Shankar 

Genus Todiramphus

Kingfisher, Collared  Todiramphus chloris  Found: Asia, Australasia
The Collared Kingfisher has upperparts that vary from blue to green; underparts from white to buff; white collar; may be black eye-line; black bill with pale yellow base to the lower mandible. Females tend to be greener than males.
Image by: 1, 6) Lip Kee - Singapore  2) Tom Tarrant   3) Johnny Wee   4) JJ Harrison - Thailand  5) Dick Daniels - Miami Zoo 
1) Juvenile  2) perhaps Female

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