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Banded Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Photo by nothinghill
Thailand, April 2005

Includes: Black-faced Kingfisher or Bornean Banded Kingfisher, Malayan Banded Kingfisher

Lacedo pulchella


22 to 23 cm

  • forehead, cheeks and nape chestnut or black (subspecies dependent)
  • cap bright blue with darker feather bases forming a short crest: the bird slowly raises and lowers this
  • upperparts including wings and tail black with blue bands
  • Rufous breast, flanks and undertail
  • central belly white
  • under tail, vent area white
  • bill red, sturdy
  • feet grey
Photo by mohbhorn
Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, January 2008


  • upperparts including wings and tail banded black and rufous
  • underparts white with some black bars on the chest and flanks

Juveniles duller; brown and orange bill. Dusky barring on the underparts.


Southeast Asia: found in Indochina, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Malay Peninsula, Brunei, Borneo, Indonesia, Greater Sundas, Sumatra, Java


Some authors (e.g. [5]) split subspecies melanops as "Black-faced Kingfisher" or "Bornean Banded Kingfisher" [6], L. melanops: males are distinctive and there are genetic differences. Reference [6] then refers to the remaining subspecies as "Malayan Banded Kingfisher".


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

  • L. p. amabilis: Lowland forests of southern Burma, Thailand and southern Vietnam. [slightly larger than the nominate form. The male has a blue nape, the female is more rufous]
  • L. p. deignani: Southern Thailand
  • L. p. pulchella: Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Riau Archipelago and North Natuna Islands
  • L. p. melanops: "Black-faced Kingfisher". Borneo and Bangka Island. [male has a black forehead, cheeks and nape]

Not all authors recognise deignani.


Not often found along streams and rivers. Lowland evergreen rainforest between 400 to 1,100m


L. p. melanops usually hunts in the top canopy in the rainforest.


Two to five white eggs are laid in the nest which is in a hole in a rotting tree trunk, or they may utilise the nest of tree termites.


The diet includes large insects and occasionally small lizards.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Avibase
  3. Wikipedia
  4. BF Member Observations
  5. HBW and BirdLife International (2022) Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International digital checklist of the birds of the world. Version 7. Available at: http://datazone.birdlife.org/userfiles/file/Species/Taxonomy/HBW-BirdLife_Checklist_v7_Dec22.zip
  6. Eaton, JA, B van Balen, NW Brickle, FE Rheindt 2021. Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago (Greater Sundas and Wallacea), Second Edition. Lynx Editions. ISBN978-84-16728-44-2

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