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GreenKingfisher.jpg (172822 bytes)

Photograph courtesy David Mason

Green Kingfisher   

The head and upperparts are dark green with a white collar. The breast is chestnut and lower underparts are white. The female is similar to the male but has two green bands across the breast. The adult size is approximately 7.5 inches (19cm) with a weight of 27 grams.

The subspecies C. a. croteta which occurs on Trinidadand Tobago has a larger and heavier bill than the mainland forms. It is very similar to the American Pygmy Kingfisher but larger in size and unlike the American Pygmy Kingfisher has more clearly seen white spots and bars on the wings. It is also similar to the Amazon Kingfisher but not as large.


Resident in both Trinidad and Tobago in mangrove swamps and forest streams. Usually seen singly but sometimes in pairs. It is most often seen on branches that overhang rivers. Their habitat preference is small, shaded, clear streams with dense, low vegetation along the banks but can also be seen around larger bodies of water once there is low vegetation over the water. Their diet consists mainly of fish. They perch on the branches to spot their prey and then plunge into the water to catch the fish. Their small size precludes deep dives as they do not have the weight to force their body deeply into the water from a low perch. As a result the fish are caught relatively near the surface. They therefore perch quietly for long periods waiting for the fish to come near to the surface.

They nest in burrows 2 to 3 feet deep near the top of a high bank over water with a small entrance, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, usually well concealed by trailing plants and vines or dead vegetation draping the top of the bank.

They tend to fly off on approach but if one stoops low and remains quiet it will double back. .

Family - Kingfisher

Local Names - Fisherman

Latin Name - Chloroceryle americana

Range - Southern U.S.A. through Central and South America

GreenKingfisherFemale.jpg (170926 bytes)

Green Kingfisher Female - Photograph courtesy David Mason


DeGraaf, Richard M., Virgil E. Scott, R.H. Hamre, Liz Ernst, and Stanley H. Anderson. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States natural history and habitat use. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Agriculture Handbook 688. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.

William James Davis, 1982. Territory Size in Megaceryl alcyon along a Stream Habitat. The Auk, 99, 353 - 362

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds of the World, David Alderton. 2004 Lorenz Books, London

Birds of Venezuela. Steven L. Hilty. 2003, Christopher Helm, London

A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Richard ffrench. 1992, Helm, London

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All photographs (unless otherwise stated) are the property of Brian Ramsey. No portion of the material on this site, including the photographs, may be reproduced without the express written consent of Outdoor Business Group Limited and Brian Ramsey. The permission of the other owners of the photographs must also be obtained for use.   

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Last modified: February 16, 2008