Green kingfisher

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Green kingfisher
Green kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana) male.JPG
Male, the Pantanal, Brazil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Alcedinidae
Subfamily: Cerylinae
Genus: Chloroceryle
Species: C. americana
Binomial name
Chloroceryle americana
(Gmelin, 1788)

C. a. americana
C. a. mathewsii
C. a. hachisukai
C. a. septentrionalis
C. a. cabanisii

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.

This small kingfisher breeds by streams in forests or mangroves. The nest is in a horizontal tunnel up to a metre long made in a river bank. The female lays three, sometimes four, eggs.

The green kingfisher is 19 cm (7.5 in) long and weighs 27 g (0.95 oz). It has the typical kingfisher shape, with a short tail and long bill. It is oily green above, with white markings on the wings and tail, and a white collar around the neck.

Males have white underparts apart from a broad chestnut breast band and some green spotting on the flanks. Females have buff-white underparts with two green chest bands, the lower of which links to the green spotting along the sides of the belly.

Green kingfishers are often seen perched on a low shaded branch close to water before plunging in head first after their fish prey. They also eat aquatic insects. These birds often give a pebbly rattling call.


Variation in this species is clinal. There are five subspecies:[2]

  • americana (Gmelin, JF, 1788): occupying northern South America east of the Andes, south to Bolivia and Brazil
  • mathewsii (Laubmann, 1927): occupying the area south of americana, to north Argentina
  • hachisukai (Laubmann, 1941): occurring from the southwestern United States to Mexico, where it merges into the next subspecies
  • septentrionalis (Sharpe, 1892): occurring from Mexico to Venezuela, where it merges with americana
  • cabanisii (Tschudi, 1846): occurring in north Chile and Peru into west Ecuador and Colombia, where it merges with americana

Birds occurring on Trinidad and Tobago, usually included in americana, have a larger and heavier bill than the mainland forms, and are sometimes separated as subspecies croteta.[3]



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Chloroceryle americana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Fry, C Hilary; Fry, Kathie; Harris, Alan (1992). Kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 226–8. ISBN 0-7136-8028-8. 
  3. ^ ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). London: Christopher Helm. p. 239. ISBN 0-7136-3518-5. 
  • Hilty, Steven L (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5. 

External links[edit]

List of birds of South Texas