KINGFISHERs of Australasial



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, Azure  Alcedo azurea  Found: Australia
The Azure Kingfisher has an azure blue back, head; white spot on side of neck; rufous-buff underparts; red legs.
Similar to: Common Kingfisher. Common Kingfisher has freckles on head; Azure Kingfisher doe not have head freckles.
Image by:  1) JJ Harrison - Julatten, Queensland  2) Stephen Barnett


Kingfisher, Bismarck   Alcedo websteri   Found: Papua New Guinea
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans


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: Azure Kingfisher. Common Kingfisher has freckles on head; Azure Kingfisher doe not have head freckles.
Image by:  1) Ravi Vaidyanathan  2, 3, 4) Lukasz Lukasik  5) Cristiano Crolle - Naole, Italy


Kingfisher, Little   Alcedo pusilla  Found: Australia, New Guinea
The Little Kingfisher has blue upperparts, head, flanks; white underparts.
Image by: 1) JJ Harrison - Queensland  2) Jacci Ingham - Northwest Territory



Genus Ceyx
The Ceyz river kingfishers are terrestrial and have a red bill.

Kingfisher, Variable Dwarf-   Ceyx lepidus   Found: New Guinea, Philippines
Image by: 1) Joseph Wolf  2) John Mittiermeier - Indonesia  3) LawrenceLo2013 - Philippines  4) Tammy Davies
4) C. l. gentianus




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, Moustached   Actenoides bougainvillei   Found: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans



Genus Clytoceyx - 1 species

Kookaburra, Shovel-billed   also  Shovel-billed Kingfisher   Clytoceyx rex   Found: New Guinea
The Shovel-billed Kookaburra has dark brown upperparts, head; rufous stripe behind eye; white throat; rufous collar, underparts; blue rump; heavy, short, thick bill. Male has dark bluish tail; female has rufous tail.
Image by: 1) Mark A Harper
1) Male



Genus Dacelo
The kookaburra species are found in Australia and New Guinea. Kookaburras are known to eat the young of other birds, mice, snakes, insects and small reptiles.

Kookaburra, Blue-winged Dacelo leachii   Found: Australia
The Blue-winged Kookaburra has a broad bill; cream-colored upper- and underparts barred with brownish markings; blue wings; brown shoulders. Male has blue tai tipped with whitel. Female has rufous tail with black stripes.
Image by: 1) Degilbo  2) Adrian Pingstone - Cotswold Wildlife Park, Oxfordshire, England  3) Macinate
1, 2) Female  3) Male


Kookaburra, Laughing  Dacelo novaeguineae    Found: Australia
The Laughing Kookaburra has a white or cream-colored body and head; brown eye-stripe, wings; rusty-orange tail with dark brown bars. Male has blue tail. Female has rufous tail with black stripes. Female has less blue to rump than male.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 4) Dick Daniels - Australia  5) Toby Hudson - Ashfield, NSW, Australia



Kookaburra, Rufous-bellied  Dacelo gaudichaud  Found: New Guinea
The Rufous-bellied Kookaburra has a black cap; rufous underparts; white bill. Male has blue tail tipped with white; female has rufous tail.
Image by: 1) John Gould  2) Jerry Oldenettel - Papua New Guinea
1) Male bottom left; female top right.


Kookaburra, Spangled   Dacelo tyro   Found: New Guinea
The Spangled Kookaburra has bright blue wings, tail; white underparts; white spotted black head.
Image by: 1) John Gould  2) Doug Janson - Jurong Bird Park, Singapore



Genus Syma

Kingfisher, Mountain
  Syma megarhyncha   Found: New Guinea
The Mountain Kingfisher has orange-yellow bill; orange head, nape; black nape patch; white throat; blue-green rump; blue tail.
Similar to: Yellow-billed Kingfisher. Mountain Kingfisher is found in highlands; Yellow-billed Kingfisher is found in lowlands.
Image by: 1) Planet Earth  2) Katerina_Tvardikova


Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Syma torotoro  Found: New Guinea and adjacent islands
The Yellow-billed Kingfisher has orange-yellow bill; orange head, nape; black nape patch; white throat; blue-green rump; pale orange-gray underparts; blue tail. Female has black crown patch.
Similar to: Mountain Kingfisher. Mountain Kingfisher is found in highlands; Yellow-billed Kingfisher is found in lowlands.
Image by: 1) Lee Hunter  2) Markaharper
1) Female   2) Male



Genus Tanysiptera

Kingfisher, Brown-headed Paradise- Tanysiptera danae Found: Papua New Guinea
Image by: 1) Markaharper


Kingfisher, Buff-breasted Paradise-  Tanysiptera sylvia Found: Australia, New Guinea
Image by: 1) Brisbane City Council  2) Carel van Kempen  2) Bernard Dupont - North Queensland


Kingfisher, Common Paradise-  Tanysiptera galatea  Found: Australia, New Guinea
The male Common Paradise-Kingfisher has blue crown, wings; blue center tail feathers with white outer-tail feathers; white underparts, tail tip,
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Francesco Veronesi - Halmahera


Kingfisher, Little Paradise-   Tanysiptera hydrocharis  Found: New Guinea
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Jerry Oldenettel - Papua New Guinea  3) Jan Veenstra


Kingfisher, Red-breasted  Tanysiptera nympha  Found; New Guinea
Image by: John Gerrard Keulemans



Genus Todiramphus
Members of Todiramphus are medium-sized kingfishers with flattened beaks. They are typically blue or blue-green above with pale underparts. They often have a pale collar and stripe over the eye. Many species are commonly found well away from water and feed largely on terrestrial animals such as insects and lizards. The nest is built in a cavity, most often in a tree. Most are found in Australasia.

Kingfisher, Beach  Todiramphus saurophagus  Found: New Guinea, Soloman Islands
Image by: 1) Greg Miles - Papua New Guinea


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.
Similar to: Forest Kingfisher. Collared Kingfisher may have greenish upperparts; Forest Kingfisher always has blue upperparts.
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



Kingfisher, Forest  Todiramphus macleayii  Found: Australasia
The Forest Kingfisher is predominantly blue and white; white forehead; broad black eye-stripe; black bill, pale lower base.
Similar to: Collared Kingfisher. Collared Kingfisher may have greenish upperparts; Forest Kingfisher always has blue upperparts.
Image by: 1) David Cook - Lake Eacham, QLD, Australia  2) Frank Wouters  
    3) JJ Harrison - Daintree Village, Queensland, Australia


Kingfisher, Red-Backed Todiramphus pyrrhopygius  Found: Australia
The Red-backed Kingfisher has a streaked green, white crown; bluish-green wings, tail; chestnut rump, upper tail coverts; white nape and upderparts; black band from base of bill, through eyes, and beyond; dark gray legs.
Image by: 1) Richard Fisher  2) Aviceda - Queensland  3) Malcolm Tattersall - Queensland


Kingfisher, Sacred  Todirhamphus sanctus  Found: Australia
The Sacred Kingfisher has turquoise upperparts, head; white throat, neck; yellowish-buff underparts.
Image by: 1) Flagstaffotos  2) David Cook - Willandra National Park, NSW, Australia 3) Oystercatcher







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