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Shining-blue Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Glimmer
Bigodi, Uganda, August 2011
Alcedo quadribrachys


16 cm.

  • Buffy loral spot
  • Cream neck patch
  • Black head and wings with glossy ultramarine tips
  • Purple-blue mantle to uppertail-coverts
  • Blue-black tail
  • Creamy chin and throat
  • Small purple-blue collar at side of breast
  • Orange-chestnut rest of underparts
  • Black bill
  • guentheri has a paler back colour and a pale azure-blue rump

Females have a dark red base of lower mandible.
Juveniles have a paler crown, paler orange underparts, a white tip of bill and dusky mottling forming a breastband


Western and Central Africa: from Senegal east to Nigeria, Uganda and south to Angola and Zambia.
Widespread and common in suitable habitat.


Two subspecies recognized:

Formerly thought to form a superspecies with Azure Kingfisher and Bismarck Kingfisher.


Found around lagoons, in mangroves and estuaris, papyrus swamps, reedbeds, along streams and rivers and lakes in forest and savanna.
Occurs mainly in the lowlands, up to 1800 m in DR Congo.



Takes fish up to 6 cm in length and also aquatic insect larvae and small crabs. Perches on overhanging branches or reeds, 1-2 m above the water to dive steeply into the water and returning to the same perch with its prey.


Breeding season differs through range. Nests in a burrow in a streamside bank, a gravel pit or a saw-pit. The nest can be up to 1 km away from a stream. Lays 4 to 6 eggs.


A sedentary species, some irregular movements recorded.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2014)

Recommended Citation

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