Order: Coraciiformes

Family: Alcedinidae

Scientific name: Ceryle rudis, Linnaeus, 1758

IUCN Red list status- Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Pied Kingfisher is also known as Lesser Pied Kingfisher.
  2. Pied Kingfisher has the ability to hover in the air.


Pied Kingfisher is 20 to 25 cm long and weighs 70-110 grams. They kingfishers have distinctive black and white plumage. The crown and the crest are black. The upperparts are barred in black. The male birds have a black double band across the breast whereas the females have a single band broken at the middle of the breast. The lower breast and the rest of the under parts are white. There is a white stripe running from the base of the beak above the eye, going towards the rear of the crest. The tip of the black banded tail is white. The bill, irises and feet are black.


The diet of Pied Kingfisher species is mostly fish. Crustaceans, fish, amphibians and aquatic insects are their primary food. These birds hunt from perches near water. They have the ability hover over the water. During hovering if a prey is spotted they suddenly dive to the water, and catch it with bill. Smaller prey is swallowed on the wing and larger prey is brought to the perch and battered repeatedly till it is dead and then swallowed. The forage time is mainly day and it is done solitarily or in pairs.


The habitat of Pied Kingfishers are wetlands, flooded grasslands, freshwater lakes, marshes, marine lagoons, estuaries, rivers, streams, mangrove vegetations and creeks. In India is distributed throughout the union in plains. It is also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season of Pied Kingfisher is between October and May. They are monogamous. Courtship includes dancing display and males offering food to females. They breed cooperatively, and sometimes non-mated birds also help to raise the offspring of a mated pair. The nesting sites are located in vertical mud banks and sometimes in flat grassy ground. The nesting tunnel of about 100-125 cms long is excavated by the breeding pair. The tunnel ends in an unlined incubating chamber. Normally 4-5 eggs are laid. Incubation takes up to 18 days. The young ones care is shared by both parents.


The call is a loud “kwik-kwik-kwik” or a sharp “chirruk-chirruk” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Ceryle rudis syriacusof Turkey, Israel and Iran.
  • Ceryle rudis rudisof Egypt and Africa (South of the Sahara).
  • Ceryle rudis leucomelanurusof Afghanistan through India, South China and north Indo china.
  • Ceryle rudis travancoreensisof South west India especially Kerala.
  • Ceryle rudis insignisof East and Southeast China


Migratory Behaviour

Common Resident